Arsenal to fight on after heroic failure
LONDON - Reuters
Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie (R) celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during his team’s Champions League win over Milan.Manager Arsene Wenger’s hopes Arsenal’s glorious failure in the Champions League on March 4 will inspire the team to finish the season on a high and earn it a place back in the competition next season.
The Gunners went down with all guns blazing losing their Round of 16 tie 4-3 on aggregate to AC Milan after a superb fightback ended in a 3-0 win in the second leg at the Emirates which took them frustratingly close to saving the tie.
Arsenal was attempting to become the first side in European history to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit and qualify, but although it fell just short after goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and a penalty from Robin van Persie, Wenger was not totally downbeat.
“We are disappointed because we touched qualification, we had the chances, and although we didnt do it, we were very close,” he told reporters afterwards.
“But the players gave a faultless performance with a fantastic spirit and you can only congratulate the whole team.”
Looking ahead to the next two months, and asked if the team could finish high enough to qualify for next season’s competition, he said: “We are on a good run in the league and it will be difficult - I don’t deny that.
“Tonight was a big disappointment for the players. But the team has grown well together, and hopefully from here we can finish the season strongly because there is no room for disappointment at the moment in the league.
“Every point is a battle until the end of the season and that is what is in front of us.
“But our target is possible because we are four points behind Tottenham, though we have to go step by step because we have another big game on Monday night against Newcastle and we take it game by game.”
“We need to win our games and look at the results of teams, but for us, its clear - we have to win our games,” Wenger said.