Samir Nasri says defeat will fuel Arsenal challenge

Samir Nasri has vowed Arsenal will use their Carling Cup disappointment to fuel their trophy chase.

The Gunners' push for silverware has been reduced to three fronts following their defeat by Birmingham in Sunday's final at Wembley.

Their Barclays Premier League campaign resumes against Sunderland tomorrow and three days later they meet Barcelona in the Champions League.

Far from seeing the defeat by Birmingham as the cue for Arsenal's season to unravel, Nasri believes it will provoke a response that proves the team's character.

"The blow will drive us forward because we want to take revenge for what happened on Sunday," he said

"We want to show everyone that we are men and have guts to answer people and show we are not the same players as before.

"The past is the past and we have to look forward. Tomorrow we have a game and then Barcelona."

Nasri believes Arsenal are capable of overcoming Barcelona because they have developed into a more "macho" team.

The Gunners head to the Nou Camp for the second leg of their last-16 clash convinced they can stage another stunning upset.

A 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium has offered sight of the quarter-finals, the stage at which Barcelona dumped them out of the competition last year.

"Barcelona seemed much better last year because we've become more macho, both physically and psychologically," he said Nasri.

"Some of the players are much better this year than before - Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, myself.

"We've all stepped up and become stronger and more macho. Players have stepped up and driven the team forward. We can compete with everyone now."

Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal are cautiously taking things "day by day" as they look to restore captain Cesc Fabregas to fitness from a hamstring injury for Barcelona.

Fabregas will not be rushed into returning against Sunderland, but Wenger remains optimistic he can recover in time to face his boyhood club at the Nou Camp.



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