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Wenger praises Arsenal's 'fantastic spirit'

Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 23.59CET
"We put a performance in with fantastic spirit and restored some pride," said Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger after his side fell just short of a remarkable comeback against AC Milan.
Published: Tuesday 6 March 2012, 23.59CET

Wenger praises Arsenal's 'fantastic spirit'

"We put a performance in with fantastic spirit and restored some pride," said Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger after his side fell just short of a remarkable comeback against AC Milan.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
I told my players they can be proud of their performance. Overall I felt we were a bit short because we had no midfielders on the bench and we suffered a little bit when we tired in the second half. We wanted to keep the ball better but we became more fatigued and I'm sure we would have scored two or three more goals in the second half. We put a performance in with fantastic spirit and restored some pride after the first leg. Unfortunately we are out but we had the chances. Overall we keep our winning run going, which is important, but unfortunately we paid the price for a bad first game.

We put a performance in with fantastic spirit and restored some pride after the first leg. Unfortunately we are out
Arsène Wenger
We are disappointed about the defeat and the way we played in the first half but, in the end, we qualified
Massimiliano Allegri

We knew we had given a lot [in the first half]. Some players are not used to playing at that level in midfield, like Chamberlain. You need to score goals and not concede against teams like that. Our defenders were absolutely outstanding today. Overall we have given everything and that's all you can do at the top level. We accept the result even if it's a disappointing one.

[Oxlade-Chamberlain] was sick last night − we weren't sure he would play because he had flu. In the end we decided to check him in the warm-up and I felt he was outstanding. Van Persie wanted to chip the goalkeeper because he was down, but he got up very quickly − Abbiati did well and we couldn't score. I hoped in the last ten to 15 minutes we could create some dangerous situations in front of goal but, unfortunately, it didn't happen because we didn't have enough drive anymore.

Massimiliano Allegri, Milan coach 
We have to analyse this defeat. Due to injuries we had to play with three forwards and I knew we could suffer a bit in defence. We created a few good chances to score in the second half. We are disappointed about the defeat but it was important to qualify. We are among the best eight in Europe and now we will have some players back from injuries and hopefully we can do better with them. 

I don't think we were scared, as fortunately we had earned an important result in the first leg. At the break I told the players to think it was still 0-0 because we could not change what we had done in the first half. We failed to complete crucial passes tonight and that's why we did not score. I knew we might have some difficulties because Arsenal are not the team we saw in San Siro and because we had too many players missing tonight, so I did not have many options.

This could be an important game in the season. Elimination tonight could have been a terrible blow for the team. However, our objective was to reach the quarter-finals and we achieved it. The approach was not good tonight. We were too soft, especially when we were trying to keep possession, and we should have played from the start the way we did in the second half, trying to push forward for a goal. We are disappointed about the defeat and the way we played in the first half but, in the end, we qualified, even if the team made me lose some weight due to stress.

Last updated: 25/09/14 6.31CET

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