Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger is expecting an "interesting" last-16 draw after his side as Group H runners-up despite victory against FC Steaua Bucureşti.
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Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger is looking forward to an "interesting" draw in the first knockout round after his side ended Group H in second place with a 2-1 home win against FC Steaua Bucureşti thanks to first-half goals from Abou Diaby and Nicklas Bendtner. With progress assured, Wenger took the opportunity to ease some of his injured players back into first-team action, although visiting coach Marius Lăcătuş still accepted his Steaua side had lost to the better side.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
Overall we were well organised and the confidence was good, although maybe we were not clinical enough in front of goal. In the second half our game dropped. The physical side was the main reason - Diaby, [Robin] Van Persie and [Alexandre] Song haven't played at a very demanding level for a while. But it was good to win and finish the group with 13 points. We didn't top the group however, so it promises to be an interesting draw in the last 16.
The next round will be a good opportunity - just like a cup game. I believe and am highly confident we can beat anyone. I have a great belief in my players and in their ability to get better. They will be even better in February. Van Persie looked sharp; his eye and passing were there. He just needs to regain his confidence in challenges, but it looks like he has never been out. He was very lively in the first half, like the team he was a bit quieter in the second. With regards to Jens Lehmann I feel he had a good game; he couldn't do much for the goal. He's a top class goalkeeper.
Marius Lăcătuş, Steaua coach
We played very well in the second half but couldn't get a draw. In the first half we were very poor, didn't create any problems for Arsenal and made too many mistakes. In the second half we tried more, had more confidence and came close to equalising. Maybe if we had been more attentive we could have scored the second goal. We were playing a great team who are very good going forward and Arsenal's win was well deserved. We were not afraid at the beginning but we maybe showed too much respect to our opponents. I told the players before the match, and at half-time, that we didn't have anything to lose and they should benefit from the experience. The way we played today in the second half and the way we dominated the game against [SK] Slavia Praha shows we maybe should have got more points in the group, but that's football.