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Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal are ready to respond to the FA Cup defeat against Watford on Sunday (13 March) by making "the impossible possible" in their Champions League second leg last 16 clash against Barcelona.
The Gunners waved goodbye to their hopes of winning the competition for the third consecutive time after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates. The club are now facing the prospect of a trophy-less season, currently sat eight points behind Leicester City in the Premier League and must turnaround a 2-0 home defeat against the La Liga giants if they are to progress in the Champions League.
But Wenger believes that the FA Cup setback will not affect his players ahead of the trip to the Camp Nou.
"We want to make the impossible possible. Barcelona are a very, very strong side and it's very important that we go there, focus and show a good response," Wenger said. "We have shown that we can always respond. This team has a great spirit and a very strong attitude. They play at the moment with the idea that you cannot afford any negative results. We can deal with that and we will deal with the fact that we have a good opportunity to show on Wednesday."
Wenger, nevertheless, believes the Gunners didn't deserve to lose to the Hornets but made a costly mistake in letting Odion Ighalo score the opener earlier in the second half, before Adlene Guedioura made it 2-0 on 63 minutes with a wonderful strike. Danny Welbeck gave some hope to the Gunners with two minutes remaining but missed an excellent chance in injury time that would have forced a replay. The defeat ends their 37-month unbeaten run in the competition.
"Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don't think that we deserved to lose," Wenger said. "We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had. As long as we didn't score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game."
"We knew that before the game. We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad. We've come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it."