Hull victory was more vital than my other FA Cup wins, says Arsenal boss
PUBLISHED: 21:51 17 May 2014 | UPDATED: 01:06 18 May 2014
Arsene Wenger has labelled Saturday’s extra-time victory over Hull as the most important of his five FA Cup successes as Arsenal manager.
Wenger’s side fought back after conceding twice in the first eight minutes of the final at Wembley Stadium to triumph 3-2 with goals from Santi Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey.
That secured the Gunners’ first trophy since they won the FA Cup in 2005 – having also achieved that feat three other times during Wenger’s 18 years in charge.
“It was more important than all the others,” admitted Wenger. “We twice made the double, so you’ve already won something and you’re not under pressure we were this time.
“It was an important moment in the life of this team. To lose would have been a major setback – to win will be a platform to build on and come back even stronger next year.
“Of course we were under severe pressure to win and we didn’t start well – maybe Hull started strongly and you could see we were hesitant. We made a demonstration of how not to start a cup final.
“They looked dangerous on every set-piece and you wonder if the shock for the team is too great. It was important to get back to 2-1 before half-time and in the second half we had many chances.”
First-time finalists Hull stunned the Gunners as James Chester opened the scoring in the third minute and defensive partner Curtis Davies doubled their lead five minutes later.
Cazorla’s free-kick reduced the deficit in the 17th minute, but the Tigers retained their lead until 20 minutes from time, when Koscielny scrambled the ball in from close range.
Arsenal dominated from then on and good chances for Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud went begging before Ramsey fired the winner early in the second half of extra time.
Wenger, who is expected to sign a new contract during the coming days, accepts that his side’s next challenge will be to improve on their fourth-place finish in the Premier League next season.
“In the end it finished well,” added the Arsenal boss. “We’ve waited a long time for that but happiness is linked sometimes with the suffering and the time you have to wait for it.
“You have to accept that the Premier League is very tough. The teams that have won it have invested incredible amounts of money and it’s very hard to beat them, but we’ll try.”