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Arsenal relieved, Udinese determined

Published: Wednesday 17 August 2011, 9.11CET
Bacary Sagna said Arsenal FC's 1-0 first-leg defeat of Udinese Calcio was proof that they could win even when below par while the visiting players "can't wait for the return leg".
by Richard Aikman
from Arsenal Stadium

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Published: Wednesday 17 August 2011, 9.11CET

Arsenal relieved, Udinese determined

Bacary Sagna said Arsenal FC's 1-0 first-leg defeat of Udinese Calcio was proof that they could win even when below par while the visiting players "can't wait for the return leg".

Bacary Sagna felt Arsenal FC were not at their best in their victory against Udinese Calcio in their UEFA Champions League play-off first leg but was pleased by the defensive unity shown by a side recently shorn of its captain, Cesc Fàbregas. Meanwhile, Udinese midfielder Giampiero Pinzi summed up their mood ahead of next Wednesday's return by saying: "We're a bit annoyed about the result we want to put it right straight away."

Bacary Sagna, Arsenal defender
We are all united behind the same goal and we showed that we have a great team spirit. We will go to Udinese a goal ahead but we just want to play well as a team and qualify because that is the most important thing. In the second leg we want to keep a clean sheet, stay sharp and defend well as a team. Of course we can play better but we showed everyone that even if we don't play as we should we can still win and that's what happened. Cesc [Fàbregas] was a great player, he showed many times that he is a great player but he is gone and that is part of football but of course I will miss him.

Emmanuel Frimpong, Arsenal midfielder
I've been training hard to get into the first team and now the boss has given me my chance to shine. There's always the possiblity when big players leave that you can get into the team and I hope that if I get my chance I will take it and show what I can do. I thought Udinese were a very technical team, they played good attacking football and they put us to the test but hopefully when we go to Italy we can win without conceding and go through. We've won today and not conceded but to be fair they could have scored a couple of goals. In the second leg hopefully we'll show them that we are a good team and win the game.

Kwadwo Asamoah, Udinese midfielder
We did a very good job but we couldn't score, we had the chances but that's football and now we have think about the return leg. We did very well against Arsenal who everyone knows are a very good team with the quality of players that they have. We did our best and the tie is not finished yet. Arsenal are young and skilful and can counterattack very fast so all you can do is to stay with them and play one against one which we did and it really helped us. We created a lot of chances and should have scored one or two but if we do the same again in the second leg we can go through.

Antonio Di Natale, Udinese forward
I'd like to thank all the travelling fans that came tonight because they stayed with us all the way. It was an emotional night for everyone, for all of the players, for the whole town of Udine, and now we just hope we can put on a good display on Wednesday in front of our own fans. We know we that Arsenal are a really good team but after tonight we know that we could have got more out of this game and at least got a draw. So we know we can still do it.

Giampiero Pinzi, Udinese midfielder
Today we tried to base our tactics on winning the ball off them in midfield. We know that they are very good on the ball but our coach told us that they would lose the ball a lot if we pressed them. Our strength is hitting sides on the counterattack and we tried to exploit that. We stole the ball off them a lot in midfield and were very good at closing them down but we missed a few good chances to score. I can't remember an Arsenal side so open at the back.

We regret not making the most of our chances of course but we can also take confidence from the fact that we now know that they are beatable, that they have weak points, and with our home crowd behind us we believe we can turn things around. A lot of teams would have folded after going 1-0 down at the Emirates but we proved that we have character, we pulled our sleeves up and started to work hard and gave a good account of ourselves. We're a bit annoyed about the result we want to put it right straight away. We'd do it tomorrow if we could, so we already can't wait for the return leg.

Last updated: 27/11/12 22.06CET

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