Cesc Fabregas rallies behind 'sorry' Arsenal
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas urged his team-mates to focus on the "great targets'' still ahead of them after the bitter disappointment of Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final at Wembley.
A terrible mix-up between goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and centre-half Laurent Koscielny gifted substitute Obafemi Martins a last-minute winner which leaves the Gunners still searching for their first piece of silverware since 2005.
Fabregas was, along with England winger Theo Walcott, not fit to play at Wembley, but insisted there would be more to come from Arsene Wenger's young squad - who tackle Leyton Orient in their FA Cup fifth-round replay at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, are second in the Premier League and will take a 2-1 lead to Barcelona for the second leg of their Champions League tie on March 8.
Writing on Twitter, Fabregas said: "Congratulations to Birmingham. This team has great potential and there are still great targets to play for this season. Thanks for your support.''
Nikola Zigic had headed the Blues in front on 28 minutes. Robin van Persie equalised with a fine volley, but would later go off carrying a knee injury which could see him miss the Champions League clash in Barcelona on March 8.
The Dutchman was skipper at Wembley, and apologised to the Arsenal fans after the team again failed to deliver on the big stage.
"I am very sorry that we could not bring CC [Carling Cup] back to north London,'' he said. "Thanks for your support today. Sorry again.''
Midfielder Samir Nasri felt Arsenal now just had to focus on what was still ahead of them.
The Frenchman said: "It is a massive blow, but we have to look forward to Wednesday's FA Cup game and we still have three competitions, so chin up.''
Jack Wilshere was distraught at the final whistle, but also offered words of encouragement to the Arsenal supporters on his Twitter account.
The 19-year-old England midfielder wrote: "All I can say is sorry to the fans. It hurts a lot, I know, but we must all stick together. Still in two [sic] other competitions! We have to move on. Sorry.''
However, full-back Bacary Sagna could not hide his disappointment, simply saying: "Just feel ashamed. Sorry.''