Fabregas tells team to build on Chelsea win

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The Independent Online

Victory over Chelsea will count for nothing with Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas if his men do not go on to repeat the performance against the rest of the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners hauled themselves back into the championship race when they came from behind to win 2-1 at Stamford Bridge following a second-half brace by Robin van Persie.

It was a first victory in the league since beating defending champions Manchester United on 8 November, and helped claw Arsene Wenger's men back to within seven points of the Blues after previous successive defeats.

While Liverpool can extend that gap with victory over West Ham at Anfield tonight, Fabregas feels the manner of the result has renewed Arsenal's belief following a troubled spell which saw William Gallas stripped of the captaincy for his public criticism of the squad.

However, the Spain international is all too aware if the Gunners fail to see off the challenges of other sides outside the top four - Hull, Stoke, Fulham and Manchester City have all beaten them this season - then the hard graft of yesterday's clash in west London will be "worthless".

"We showed a different attitude and that is what we want to do from now on," Fabregas told Arsenal TV Online.

"We have a new momentum, but if we do not do the same, then it is not worth it.

"We want to be competitive again in every game and see where we can go until the end of the season.

"We have shown we can do it, to beat the big teams, so we can have no excuse with not doing it against the rest of the teams.

"We have to be proud of what we did against Chelsea because we are a young side and have had a lot of criticism."

Wenger hailed the character of his side in fighting back after trailing to a first-half own goal from Johan Djourou.

Fabregas dedicated the result to the unwavering faith of their manager.

"Sometimes the boss has been the only one who has believed in us," the 21-year-old said.

"He knows what we can do and we proved against Chelsea that he is not wrong.

"Now it is up to us to keep going and doing it game by game."

It was a good end to Fabregas' first week as the new captain, following on from the home win over Dynamo Kiev which secured Arsenal's place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

"For me, all that is important is the attitude of the team, the discipline and the character we show," he said.

"When you play next to these guys, you can see the effort they put in and that they are not afraid to play against anyone in the league.

"I am really proud to be their captain and hopefully we can keep going like that."

Deposed skipper Gallas produced a composed display in defence against his old club - and on another day might have scored to silence the Stamford Bridge boo-boys.

Wenger praised the 31-year-old's attitude.

"I think William was outstanding, absolutely amazing," he said.

"He came out of that troublesome period with, for me, a lot of credit.

"His commitment is fantastic and he was outstanding, and had already been like that against Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday night. It shows he is a fighter."

Arsenal return to action in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup at Coca-Cola Championship side Burnley tomorrow, where Wenger is again expected to field a mix of his promising youth and reserve players.

The Gunners, meanwhile, have been linked with a swoop for Fiorentina's Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo when the transfer window re-opens in January.

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