Diarra aiming to tackle doubters

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The Independent Football

Lassana Diarra wants to show his commitment to Portsmouth and disprove accusations that he is only using the club as a stepping-stone after failing to make the Premier League grade with Chelsea and Arsenal.

Diarra, 22, makes his Pompey debut at home to Derby today having arrived in a £5m move from the Emirates Stadium.

Arsène Wenger signed him on transfer deadline day in August after the Mali-born Diarra also failed to hold down a first-team place at Stamford Bridge.

But Diarra, who has played in nine of France's last 10 full internationals and aims to be in their Euro 2008 squad, said: "I want to be here and I have come here to focus on my football. Of course, I want to keep my place in the French national team but that will be no problem if I play here and do well.

"This is a really good team with some really good players. I have watched Pompey and I believe we can qualify for Europe with the players we have here.

"It was difficult to leave a great club like Arsenal and I never had a problem with Arsène Wenger. I still wish them good luck and I still think they could win the Premier League, but I have to focus on my own career and the only way to do that is by playing and playing well."