Cesc accepts cup final KO
Fabregas ready to watch from the sidelines
By Graeme Bailey - Follow me on Twitter @graemebailey. Last Updated: February 26, 2011 11:07am
Fabregas: Ruled out
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabrgeas has accepted that he will not be taking any part in Sunday's Carling Cup final.
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"It's hugely disappointing. Maybe my heart was ruling my head when I felt I might play. Now, reluctantly, I must accept I cannot." Quotes of the week
Arsene Wenger stated earlier this week that the hamstring injury Fabregas picked up against Stoke City in midweek was enough to prevent him playing at Wembley.
But Fabregas insisted that he would wait until Sunday and up until kick-off before ruling himself out.
However, the Spanish star has now conceded that his cup final dream is over and he will not be facing Birmingham at Wembley.
"It's hugely disappointing. Maybe my heart was ruling my head when I felt I might play. Now, reluctantly, I must accept I cannot," said a gutted Fabregas.
"Even on Friday morning I had hoped to be involved, even if it was on the bench.
"But the boss, Arsene Wenger, is right and the most important thing is to make sure I get fit as quickly as possible to help Arsenal for the rest of the season.
"Let's hope Arsenal could also be playing in the FA Cup and Champions League finals at Wembley. It could be a once-in-a-liftime season.
"So while it is agonising I can't be with the lads on the pitch on Sunday, I'll be working hard to ensure I am part of the whole adventure."
Fabregas' disappointment at not playing has underlined how importantly Arsenal are taking the game.
"Tomorrow's Carling Cup final is going to be such an important game in terms of the whole squad's confidence for the rest of the season," he said in his Sun column.
"We are still involved heavily in the race for four major trophies.
"I am obviously disappointed to be missing tomorrow's game - but even though I won't be on the pitch I will be kicking every ball from the stands.
"It was touching for our keeper Wojciech Szczesny to say he would like me to lift the trophy if we win.
"The boss has also said the boys should go out and win the cup for me because I cannot play. That shows the spirit we have at Arsenal in the dressing room.
"But really, I would like them all to go out and win the Carling Cup for the club and for the supporters. They are the ones who have stuck by us and waited a long time for the chance to win a trophy.
"The Arsenal fans still sing for us and travel to games in great numbers wherever we play to give us the backing that can turn a draw into victory. They don't care who the opposition is, they support us all the time and so for them it would be really magical to see Robin van Persie lift the Carling Cup.
"Like the fans, Arsene Wenger treats every game the same whether we are playing Birmingham or Barcelona. And I really hope to be fit for the second one!"
The Arsenal skipper admits that even if they win at Wembley, the hectic fixture schedule, as the club battle for three other trophies, means they will not be able to celebrate.
He said: "The games are coming so fast at the moment - almost every three days, which means hardly any time to relax or to see our friends and families. We are spending a lot of time in hotels. After tomorrow we play Leyton Orient in the FA Cup and then Barcelona next week.
"It means even if we beat Birmingham there is no time to celebrate. If the boss orders training on Monday, so be it.
"Now is not the time to party or to be tired. There will hopefully be plenty of time to celebrate in the summer - for now we have to stay completely focused.
"Nothing has been won yet and nothing has been achieved. And that is why the boss' plan to stick to the same routine regardless is the best thing possible for our preparation.
"He doesn't put pressure on young players who have come into the first team, that's what we like. He just wants us to play the way we are used to and that is very good for the team as a unit.
"A final is a special day but you just have to be focused to give 100 per cent. I am sure the boss will find a way to make everything work.
"When you step out on the pitch you forget about it being a final. And you either want to win that final or get three points - it's exactly the same.
"I don't like to get too far ahead. We are doing well in the Premier League, have a replay in the FA Cup and a Champions League second leg at Barcelona.
"There's still a long way to go and we have to just think about this next game which will be very difficult because Birmingham are playing very well.
"This is the first step along the way for this team - hopefully it will be the first trophy and that will make it a big step. But it is still one step at a time."