Rice salutes battling Gunners

The Gunners were denied victory in their Champions League Group F
encounter at Signal Iduna Park as an exquisite volley from
substitute Ivan Perisic secured a last-gasp 1-1 draw. It looked as
if Robin van Persie had snatched Arsenal an unlikely victory in
Germany after withstanding a barrage of attacks before the home
side struck a late blow. With manager Arsene Wenger forced to watch
from the stands due to a touchline ban, assistant Rice was the man
charged with leading the side and he was proud of the team’s
effort. “We battled really hard and we knew it would be a hard,
hard game,” he said. “To be able to defend well is a high quality
skill and that is something all of our players did this evening. “I
shouldn’t think many teams will come to Dortmund and beat them and
we were very, very close to doing that. “Don’t forget Dortmund are
a really good side. There is no question about that. “Would we have
liked to have won the game? Of course we would. “We were so close
and so very, very near. “But the same thing happened to us in terms
of the goal as happened when we played arch rivals Tottenham and
the boy (Danny) Rose hit an unbelievable shot from about 35 yards.
“It was the same this evening. I should imagine that he could try
that 25, 30, 40 times and he would hit it over the bar or at the
goalkeeper. It was a great goal.” Tuesday night’s hard-fought
result followed the 1-0 defeat of Swansea at the weekend. Wenger
admitted on Monday he hoped for a win that would kick-start their
season but, despite the late equaliser, Rice believes the draw can
have the same effect. Asked whether Arsenal have turned the corner,
he said: “Very much so. “It seemed, especially the game on
Saturday, it was our start of the season. “Because of the
uncertainty as to who the players would be that leave us and
whether they wouldn’t. “The players that we have acquired are very,
very good players, contrary to what other people have said. “I have
no doubt that they will show it and in the games to come.” Rice
will return to his regular role alongside Wenger in Saturday’s
Barclays Premier League match at Blackburn as the Frenchman’s ban
only covers European games. The former defender admitted it was odd
not having Wenger alongside him and the experience reinforced his
decision not to get into management. “It was extremely strange not
having the manager next to me,” he said. “Usually he is shouting in
my ear: ‘why did he do that’ and ‘why didn’t he do that’. “Also not
to be able to be in contact with him, which is a strange decision
but UEFA have their reasons why. “Did I like it? Not really, no. It
has never been one of my ambitions to be the manager of a football
club. “It is very strange. It is too stressful for me.” Jurgen
Klopp was the man in the opposite dugout and the Borussia Dortmund
manager was delighted by his side’s showing. “I am very satisfied
with the performance of my team today,” he said. “Arsenal are a
very offensive-playing team and we were able to hold them. “We were
rewarded with one point from this hard fight and it is great for
this young team to have achieved this draw.”