Gazidis - It might be our year
Ivan Gazidis is optimistic of Arsenal's chances of lifting the Champions League, after the club drew Villarreal.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 20/03/09 6:08pm
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is optimistic about the club's chances of lifting the UEFA Champions League after they were drawn against Villarreal in the quarter-finals.
The Gunners overcame Roma on penalties in the first knock-out round and Friday's draw in Nyon placed them versus Primera Division club Villarreal in the last eight.
Should Arsene Wenger's side see off the Yellow Submarines, they will then face the victor of Manchester United's encounter with Porto.
Gazidis, however, is remaining focused on April's meetings with Villarreal, although he was keen to highlight the character of Wenger's charges.
He told Sky Sports: "Villarreal are going to be a real challenge. We have a young team, and we believe in the quality of our team, but every step in this journey is a challenge for us.
"We are laser-focused on the next round. We think we can get a result, but when we played them in 2006 we only just squeaked by. It will be a difficult test.
"The one thing we do believe in is not just the quality of the team, but also the character of our team. I think we saw that in the really difficult environment in Rome.
"Young player after young player made their penalty kicks when they had to. And we will have to draw on those reserves of character to get past Villarreal.
"We have never lost belief in ourselves. We have a superb group of young players. We still believe there is a potential for a really great season for us.
"We can beat anybody on our day. But we can't think beyond Villarreal. We will worry about the next step if we can get by the Yellow Submarine.
"In 2006 we missed out on this trophy by a nose. It might be our year this year. But it is not going to happen just because we want it to. Don't underestimate the depth of character we have."
Gazidis also confirmed the Gunners are willing to co-operate with Hull City over their complaints that Cesc Fabregas spat at Tigers assistant manager Brian Horton.
He added: "We have a lot of respect for Hull City, for (manager) Phil Brown and Paul Duffen their chairman.
"If they decide they want to take this further with the FA, we will co-operate fully. We have nothing to hide."