Arsène Wenger was full of praise for substitute Nicklas Bendtner, whose late winner against a stubborn FC Dynamo Kyiv side put Arsenal FC into the last 16 and brought an end to the Danish striker's recent frustrations.
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Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger was full of praise for substitute Nicklas Bendtner, whose late winner against a stubborn FC Dynamo Kyiv side sent the Gunners through to the UEFA Champions League first knockout round from Group G. The best Dynamo can now aim for is third place which they will secure with a point at home to bottom side Fenerbahçe SK. The Ukrainian outfit's coach Yuri Semin, who lost Olexandr Aliyev to a late red card, hailed his team despite their lack of experience.
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
We left it late. I felt it was a more steady than spectacular performance. It was important for the team to come back [following defeats by Aston Villa FC and Manchester City FC], but Kyiv defended very well. They got a 0-0 draw away to Fenerbahçe, a 1-0 win in Porto and you could see why. We were less spontaneous in our play tonight and it gave us a big problem. Nicklas scored a great goal. It was fantastic ball from [Cesc] Fàbregas and a great finish. Nicklas had been a bit disturbed recently, with a lack of confidence. This goal will give him confidence. [William] Gallas showed great focus, you could see he wanted to do well. He was completely committed, and did well overall.
They closed us down very well and it wasn't easy in midfield. I expected them to drop their tempo but they didn't. [Aaron] Ramsay worked very hard, [Carlos] Vela was good for an hour, always dangerous – then he dropped a bit physically. [The 16-year-old Jack] Wilshire, when he came on, did extremely well for such a young boy – he's extremely composed on the ball. [Qualification] is a first step, the team needs reassurance and this will give us that.
Yuri Semin, Dynamo coach
I think I can say this in just a few words: we don't have the experience. By the end we were showing our tiredness, and there were some small passages of play which we didn't make count. We more or less matched them and our players played well but the result is what counts. When you are defeated it is mainly the coach who is blamed. The most important thing is that Arsenal won, the result is the result and we cannot change that. They scored one more goal and won the game. The players were well prepared for this game, they did their tasks very well and they followed our strategy. I couldn't ask for any more.