Arsenal will not be content just to defend their
one-goal first leg lead against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday,
manager Arsene Wenger says.
"It is about finding the right balance -- one goal is a good cushion, but also
not much of a cushion at all," Wenger told reporters on Tuesday.
"It is just a result which dictates they have to have a go at us. You cannot
play 90 minutes and think 'we will just defend that goal' - the lead is just not
"We are not specialists at hanging-on.
"I believe the first job is to defend well against a team like Real Madrid. But
the second part of that job is that we want to give some problems and to score
Arsenal surprisingly dominated the first leg of the knockout round tie, won
courtesy of a Thierry Henry special, after Real gave the London side room to
play their passing game.
Wenger will not reveal whether he will adopt a 4-5-1 formation, with Henry as
lone striker, that worked so effectively in the first leg in Madrid.
"We have a system which is very flexible because Jose Antonio Reyes can play as
the second striker, or can play as a winger.
"I am still not completely decided on that, because Madrid may change their
system as well, and we may adapt a little bit to their system."
Jaun Ramon Lopez Caro, the Real Madrid manager, refused to comment on whether
Brazil striker Ronaldo would start the match despite being asked six times at
Tuesday's news conference.
"Ronaldo has been training and we will have to see tomorrow if he plays," said
Lopez Caro. "The most important thing is the team and how we play."
Ronaldo's compatriot and fellow striker Robinho agreed.
"I know that when Ronaldo plays he's one of the best in the world (but) we have
to focus on the whole team," he told reporters.
"I'd always want to have Ronaldo on my team and I think that everyone would feel
the same. But the most important thing is to play to the best of our abilities
and turn this match around."
Lopez Caro added: "Arsenal may start as favorites but I'm of the opinion that we
have to show who the best team is on the pitch and we shall see who that is
"They have the advantage now but we are not going to stop. Our football
philosophy of attacking will not change we hope we can score goals if we are
Wenger says a positive result against Madrid will prove Arsenal's critics wrong
after a disappointing league season.
"I am convinced we are improving, and tomorrow is another big opportunity to
show it. But at Arsenal, just reaching the Champions League quarter-final would
not be enough.
"We want to achieve more. I believe it will be something which will help the
team to grow, and that is very important at the moment."
Theo Walcott will again be on the bench although Wenger will not be afraid to
use the teeneage winger.
Walcott has yet to play for Arsenal following his transfer from Southampton in
January. He could be the second youngest player to appear in the Champions
"I will not be scared to throw him on if it is needed because he shows good
qualities in training. I put him there because, if I feel it is needed, I will
send him on."