Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes Arsenal FC can take heart from a spirited performance against FC Bayern München even if a 2-0 home defeat leaves them with a mountain to climb to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. The first-half dismissal of Wojciech Szczęsny meant Arsenal spent much of the second period trying to keep Bayern at bay, but despite conceding twice, Oxlade-Chamberlain feels "the fight and character we showed will be crucial for the rest of the season".
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal midfielder
Obviously 2-0 is not what we wanted. We started really well, came out of the traps and I think we surprised them almost with our start. But then to go down to ten men obviously makes it tough from there on in and against a really good Bayern side it is always going to be hard and we did find it hard, especially second half. It is disappointing we couldn't hold on even when it went to 1-0, but I think the character we showed in the second half and the fight just to try and hold onto what we could, we can definitely take that into the next game against them.
This time last year we lost 3-1 here and we went there and won 2-0 so we can take confidence from that. It is never over in this game. We will go there with belief that we can do it. Obviously if we can keep 11 men on the pitch it gives us a better chance. The fight and character we showed will be crucial for the rest of the season and definitely when we go and play at their place.
I think we surprised them with how positive we were and how much we came at them – that's what we needed to do, play without fear. They always have respect wherever they go and we give them that because they have great individuals, but we couldn't fear them or think we were second best. That's what we showed right at the start of the game, that we were up for it and fancied our chances, as we still do going into the second game. It is going to be tough but it is never over until the end. We can take a lot of confidence from the fight and character we showed and our previous result away [in Munich] last year.
They've got great ball players, great passers – Toni Kroos was controlling the game in the second half. When they've got players like that and Robben and both full-backs going down the wings, obviously that made it hard, but to show that we could keep them at bay for so long is a positive for us. We're going to need that fight and we're going to be taking that into the next game.
It's positive for me that I'm back on the pitch [after injury] and nights like tonight are nights you live for. You dream to play in games like that so it is really nice to get back on the pitch. Tonight was another good experience for me and my career. The first half-hour, against a top side, European champions, and then even when we went down to ten men, that's experience for myself and the rest of us to see how we deal with a tough situation, so there are positives to take. It has shown us that we can compete even when we've got our backs against the wall, like in that second half.
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