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Vieira eyes European domination
Updated: 2004-09-14 17:01

Captain Patrick Vieira has challenged his Arsenal team-mates to prove their Champions League credentials in tomorrow's opening group game against PSV Eindhoven.
Vieira has echoed Arsene Wenger's conviction that Arsenal have finally gained the confidence and experience to make the long-awaited breakthrough in Europe.

After all, it was Vieira's belief in Arsenal's trophy-winning capacity which helped to persuade him to reject a move to Real Madrid and stay at Highbury this summer.

Their five Premiership victories since then have underlined that domestic potential, while the bookmakers have even installed them as the joint pre-competition favourites along with Real Madrid.

Vieira's return from a thigh injury in the controversial weekend victory at Fulham has, meanwhile, also given them an added boost.

The Gunners nevertheless still have something to prove in Europe, having so far failed to make it past the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Vieira declared: 'The desire and quality are there in the squad to achieve our target. We are good enough. Now it is up to us to show how much we want it.

'Although this is a good start, there is still a long way to go. We know how important tomorrow's game is. We are confident in the way we are playing but we need to start well at home.'

Vieira will have benefited from his involvement in Saturday's 3-0 win at Craven Cottage, his first Premiership action of the season.

'I need a few more games to really get into the rhythm of the game, as the speed is completely different, but I enjoyed myself and I am really glad to come back with a victory,' he observed.

'The players have been really enjoying themselves and I wanted to be part of it. Even if I was there in training every day, it is not the same.'

Arsene Wenger must decide whether to recall Jose Reyes, who has scored six times this season, or Cesc Fabregas to the line-up, although Sol Campbell is still ruled out with an Achilles injury.

Wenger nevertheless revealed that Thierry Henry should be fit to start despite having suffered a knock when brought down by former Arsenal team-mate Moritz Volz at Craven Cottage.

Volz, who did not concede a penalty in one of several controversial decisions by referee Mark Halsey, believes that Arsenal now have what it takes to succeed in Europe.

'They are better now than when I was there and if this team are not good enough to conquer Europe, I don't know who is,' said the German full-back.

'I think they will do really well but it is so tight when you get to the knockout stage. Another top team in Europe can hold off any other team for two games.

'When it comes to March and April, the other top clubs will have had a rest, while Arsenal play right through the winter, so I don't know if they will have the legs.

'But with the mentality and quality of the squad, they will be a contender for the Champions League. I wish them all the best and I really hope that they will conquer Europe this season.'

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