Cesc Fabregas has revealed the extent of his Champions League and FA Cup heartbreak.

Arsenal's 19-year-old midfielder has likened his side's recent troubles to "splitting up from your girlfriend" because both are hammer blows to your emotions that need time for recovery.

Fabregas was speaking after Arsenal's 1-0 win at Villa Park on Wednesday night. It was a hard-fought and highly welcome three points after a difficult fortnight had seen Arsène Wenger's side knocked out of three competitions in quick succession.

"It was really important to come back with a good result away from home," he said.

"When we lose it is always a disappointment because we are Arsenal and we always have to be at the top. All our supporters want us to win trophies.

"But you have to recover from disappointment. It is the same when you break up with your girlfriend or something like that. You have to come back and be stronger in life and similar sorts of things happen in football. Now we have to learn from these mistakes."

Fabregas baulked at suggestions that having only Premiership games to play meant Arsenal would be struggling for motivation for the remainder of the campaign.

"For every footballer, the game is our life," he said. "So it is not hard to be motivated now. Whenever I play football, I am motivated.

"Yes, it is true at times you have bigger games than others and for us right now second place is an objective we want to try and still achieve. We are in third and that gives us confidence.

"The next two league games with Liverpool and Everton will be massive, especially Liverpool because we can take a step towards closing in on third place. But Everton is on Sunday and that is always a difficult place to go as well."

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15 Mar 2007