Search

Wenger hails Arsenal spirit and reacts to Fabianski’s penalty heroics

21:01 12 April 2014

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watches on at Wembley. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger watches on at Wembley. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

2014 Getty Images

Arsene Wenger was pleased with his players’ togetherness after they scraped into the FA Cup final with a nervy penalty shoot-out victory over holders Wigan at Wembley.

Jordi Gomez gave the Championship outfit the lead from the spot midway through the first half as the below-par Gunners struggled to create chances, but Per Mertesacker equalised in the 82nd minute before the game went to penalties.

Stand-in Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski saved Wigan’s first two efforts and Mikel Arteta, Kim Kallstrom, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla kept their nerve as the Gunners triumphed 4-2.

“I’m relieved because we were under big pressure,” Wenger said.

“I expected a difficult game and I was not disappointed. Wigan were impressive, very organised and physically very strong. They played very well and showed why they knocked Man City out in the quarter-final.

“We had everything a little bit against us for a while in the game. We needed to show some character and some resilience and some nerves and we did. We were very united.”

He added: “It was a cup game and the difference between winning and losing is very, very small and this game has shown that again.

“But even if we had lost I think I would have said we were at the mental level I expected. Hopefully that win will give us a lift for the end of the season.”

Fabianski is out of contract in the summer but Wenger was delighted with the Pole’s heroics between the sticks.

“He did very well,” the Frenchman said. “I think he’s a good goalkeeper and he’s shown that again today.

“Even on the penalties they scored he went the right way. He was quick and he put us in a good position.”

Arsenal are in a battle with Everton to claim fourth place in the Premier League, and Wenger admitted going out of the FA Cup would have been a hammer blow for his side.

“It’s important mentally that we didn’t go out tonight,” he said. “If you imagine the consequences of going out tonight, it’s quite worrying.”

Aaron Ramsey returned in the injury-hit Gunners’ midfield but they remain without a number of key players.

“I believe we have a good team, but we have many players out,” Wenger added.

“Even this morning Chamberlain was still not sure to be available, Gibbs was not available either.

“Plus all of the other players who are out. We have a good squad but recently we are missing too many players.”

Wenger added that he wasn’t even aware of Everton’s 1-0 win at Sunderland before kick-off, but he remains confident of qualifying for the Champions League and said his side must quickly focus on the Premier League ahead of the visit of West Ham on Tuesday.

“I didn’t even know the result,” he said. “I think if we win our games we will finish in front [of Everton].

“For us it’s important now to focus on the Premier League and do it the right way.

“Our confidence will come back and on top of that we have a target now for the end of the season – an FA Cup final. But for now we can concentrate on the Premier League.”

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Sport Stories

Saturday, April 25, 2015
Hugo Lloris of Spurs shakes hands with Manager Mauricio Pochettino  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino hailed the fighting spirit of his side and fans as they came from behind twice to rescue a draw on his first return to Southampton.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino hands the ball to Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne on his return to St Mary's

Tottenham twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw as head coach Mauricio Pochettino returned to his former club Southampton for the first time.

Mauricio Pochettino (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham need to be “cleverer” than their big-spending rivals this summer and land the first punch by signing their targets early.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Spruce up for spring with this beauty bundle from Justmylook!

Looking to update your look for spring? Well, you’re in luck.

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder