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Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has insisted he is still in line to recover in time to help the Gunners to fight for the Premier League title before going to the Euro 2016 with Spain. He has also spoken with his national team manager Vicente Del Bosque to deny recent suggestions that he could miss the rest of the campaign.
The Spaniard, meanwhile, has urged his teammates to react to the latest defeat to Swansea with a victory over Tottenham on Saturday, warning the Gunners that "to have any chance of winning the Premier League" they need to win the north London derby.
The 31-year-old midfielder underwent surgery early in December after suffering a rupture to his external knee ligament during the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on 29 November. He was then ruled out for around three or four months, with the player himself claiming that in the best case scenario he would like to return in the Champions League second leg last 16 game with Barcelona on 16 March.
But earlier this week manager Arsene Wenger sparked speculation that he could eventually miss the rest of the season due to a new problem in his achilles.
"Santi is not doing too well. He has some Achilles problems that hold him back. His knee is doing well but his Achilles has inflamed a little bit and we have to put him off impact," Wenger said, according to the Evening Standard. "We have to see now how he responds. He had always a little tendonitis on his Achilles and we have to see how he responds to that."
Cazorla quickly reacted on his Twitter account to play down the concerns by saying: "Surprised by the piece of news appeared in press, deadlines are going as planned. I will be ready on 1st April."
The Spaniard has reiterated this during an interview with Cadena Cope.
"I have had a problem but things are not as they have said it. The knee problem was very good, I was even shortening the recovery time, but now it's a bit sore in the Achilles that delayed everything a little bit. Anyway, I am still in line to recover in the time expected. It is not necessary to say that I will not play again this season," the Arsenal star explained.
"The hardest thing is to see that the knee is recovering very well, which was the serious problem, and then an unexpected minor problem arises. I have to accept it. I am optimistic for the future. All I want is to recover and help the team, I have many important things to do, not only help Arsenal to fight for the Premier League but also to go to the Euros with Spain."
Cazorla also revealed that national team manager Vicente del Bosque called him following suggestions that he could miss the Euro 2016. "I've already been in contact with him. He called me about the situation after it was said that I was not going to play any more this season. I explained him the problem and everything is clear now. I appreciate he called me. I will do everything possible to be in the Euros."
The Arsenal playmaker, meanwhile, also lamented that his side missed an opportunity to close the gap with Leicester City and Tottenham with the defeat against Swansea.
"We have missed a good opportunity. It was a tough loss. It's a step back," Cazorla said while urging his teammates to react in the North London derby against Tottenham. "It will be a key game. For Tottenham will also be vital. If we have any chance of winning the Premier we have to win this match."