After their 2-0 victory over AC Milan, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger thought his team responded in just the right way to adverse circumstances.
Going into the game, AC Milan were on a 13-match unbeaten streak, and Arsenal a four-match losing run, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan, then Aaron Ramsey to hit the back of the net for the Gunners.
“It was what we needed, and what we wanted especially,” Wenger told the press. “At some stage, you need to respond and respond together with a good performance. That’s what we did tonight.
“We have won again but we have not qualified. The result will lift the belief in the team again. When you lose three games in six days, it’s always very difficult. We want to keep our focus and finish the job next week. That’s what the target is.
“In England, we have a strange system where we have a League Cup final in the middle of the season. We played a cup final in the middle of the season on the Sunday, and then played against the same opponent on Thursday.
“It’s like a boxing match where you’re half knocked down and you have to face another opponent before you get up again. It’s difficult to recover from a defeat in a cup final when you put so much effort in. You’re always in danger.
“That’s what happened to us because we had no time to recover, no breather. We had our backs to the wall tonight and we had to respond. That’s what we have shown.
“We needed to find the mental resources and not just accept it.”
“when you have big disappointments you forget quickly that you have some qualities. In one week, you do not become a bad team or a bad player. Nothing is permanent in life.
“What is happening in life is just about how much you want to influence things. That’s what we try to do. As I told you in the press conference yesterday, you have to be pragmatic. Sport is sport and football is football.
“Today we started the game and faced three or four corners, got away with it maybe. If one goes in, then we stand there again… You have to accept that, what nobody accepts anymore. It’s a coincidence in the game.
“I feel our team spirit. That’s what we want to show. That is in front of us and that’s what we want to show, that we have the mental resources and qualities. I spoke about the cup final but people forget that to get to the cup final in England, you need mental resources and you need mental qualities.
“We lost against a team who is dominating English football at the moment, and it was unexplainable. We have to accept that, it doesn’t mean that the team has no spirit. We all have to show that until the end of the season.
“The tie isn’t over, I just said that we won the game, we are not qualified. We understand that and we have to finish the job at home. Overall, nothing is [finished] at the moment.”