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Page last updated at 23:49 GMT, Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger plays down captaincy issue

Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas
Denilson had reportedly criticised Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has played down reports of a rift between captain Cesc Fabregas and Denilson after their 3-1 FA Cup third-round win at Leeds.

The build-up to Arsenal's replay victory was overshadowed by comments Denilson was alleged to have made about Fabregas not being a "born leader".

But Wenger said: "The report is coming back from Brazil and is not at all the spirit of the comment that was made.

"Either you have bad translators or good translators with a bad spirit."

He added: "Denilson and Fabregas are two very good friends and have a lot of respect for each other. Cesc is our captain and Robin van Persie our vice-captain and we have many leaders in our team.

"We have a shared leadership in our team but I believe Fabregas is an outstanding leader, especially when you consider he's 23 years old, with personality and character, and Van Persie as well.

"I believe what is important in the way we want to play football is that everyone takes responsibility."

Fabregas had earlier tweeted his support for the Brazilian, saying: "I've been in his [Denilson's] situation before, just a misunderstanding."

The Spaniard also posted a picture of the pair together on the train ride from London to Leeds.

Denilson was also quick to curb reports of a rift, assuring his team-mate he was not criticising his captaincy in any way.

I was misquoted. I have talked with Fabregas and everything is resolved

Arsenal's Denilson

"Fabregas is a great friend," said the midfielder. "When I said the team had no leadership it was to point out that Arsenal have a very young squad and sometimes lack a more experienced person, as it had for many years with Gilberto Silva, for example.

"I am a shy guy, I do not like controversy and problems. I was misquoted. I have talked with Fabregas and everything is resolved. We are fighting for the English title and it will not take away our focus."

Arsenal were in superb form at Elland Road on Wednesday as they swept Leeds aside to set up an FA Cup fourth-round meeting at the Emirates Stadium with League One side Huddersfield.

Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna and Van Persie scored the goals and Wenger revealed his delight as the Gunners continued their hunt for a first trophy since 2005.

606: DEBATE
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"The team goes from strength to strength and we have shown again we are hungry," he said.

"This gives us a good opportunity to play at home against Huddersfield - of course we will be favourite and I think we had that in mind.

"We got a warning in the first game and learned that lesson - that showed my players are intelligent and that is a good sign.

"I had super quality on the bench, too, and that helps especially when the legs get tired."



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see also
Leeds 1-3 Arsenal
19 Jan 11 |  FA Cup
Leeds-Arsenal as it happened
19 Jan 11 |  Football
Leeds v Arsenal photos
19 Jan 11 |  Football
FA Cup fourth round draw details
19 Jan 11 |  FA Cup


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