Carvalho: Monaco must be ready for Arsenal fightback

The former Chelsea defender does not feel the first-leg 3-1 win was a surprise but admits his team are not guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals ahead of the second leg

Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho says that their 3-1 Champions League win over Arsenal was a blot on neither Arsene Wenger nor his team.

The Ligue 1 outfit are on the brink of the last eight of the prestigious European competition, after embarrassing the hosts at the Emirates Stadium on February 25.

Ahead of the second leg on Tuesday, Carvalho – who was injured for the first leg – said Arsenal’s slip-up was part of the sport, and Monaco were equally capable of losing their advantage on Tuesday.

“I don’t know [if Arsenal underestimated Monaco]. I don’t think so,” the former Chelsea centre-back told Perform. “Sometimes that happens in football. Of course, for most people it was a surprise.

“Arsenal are a great team, but sometimes in football, it’s true that it can happen. So it can happen with us at home, so we have to be ready to play well, because in football you can have that kind of surprise.”

Carvalho said manager Wenger’s failure to capture the Champions League is no blight on his reputation.

“Everyone respects the work he does, and in football those kind of games can happen,” Carvalho said of the Frenchman.

“[Real] Madrid were almost knocked out of the Champions League. It sometimes happens, so I think they [Arsenal] will come here and try until the end.

“In the end, you will see if the goal that [Yannick Ferreira] Carrasco scored in the last minute [of the first leg] is decisive or not.”

Carvalho said while he wanted to be a part of Monaco’s momentous victory – they are on the brink of their third Champions League quarter-finals – he was delighted his team-mates got the job done without him.

The 36-year-old played 90 minutes in Monaco’s 3-0 win over Bastia on Friday, to prove his fitness for the second leg.

“Everyone wants to play those kind of games. I have a lot of experience and fortunately I’ve played a lot of those games – semi-finals and finals, I played two finals,” Carvalho said.

“Of course, it’s important to play these games – our level of concentration is higher, and you want to show everyone that you are still fit, that you can still play at this high level.

“In that moment, I was injured, but more important for me was to be pleased with my team doing a great job.”

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