Armband won't sink Almunia

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Arsenal's stand-in captain Manuel Almunia insists he will not feel any extra pressure when he leads the team out on Tuesday to play Fenerbahce in the Champions League.

The goalkeeper has been given the honour after injuries forced club skipper William Gallas and Kolo Toure out of the match in the intimidating Sukru Saracoglu stadium.

Almunia will experience his first match in front of the fanatical Turkish supporters but was keen to stress it was business as usual saying: "I am very proud. It is a great thing to wear the armband. I am a bit surprised because I am the oldest player on the pitch."

He added: "It is nice. It means that I am doing things well and I have the confidence of the boss.

"I will try to defend Arsenal 100% and try to help my team in every aspect.

"The only pressure is as it is on a Saturday every weekend - to defend my team.

"I have more responsibility being captain but there is no pressure.

"It is a pride for me. I hope I can support my team from behind and command my defenders very well to get the points."

Much has been made of the reception Arsenal can expect inside the ground but Almunia insists it is up to the team to quell the noise with an assured performance.

"We expect a team like Fenerbahce to put some pressure on us in the first 15 minutes with all the crowd behind them," he said. But I think we have the experience enough to maintain our calm, to play our football and defend very well. It will be crucial for us to keep a clean sheet."

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European News
Manuel Almunia
Kolo Toure
William Gallas

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