Gunners can be proud – Wenger

The Gunners came from behind to win their their play-off second leg

at Udinese 2-1 on Wednesday night to seal a 3-1 aggregate victory.

The result eased the pressure on a beleaguered Wenger, who was

under immense pressure following what has been one of the most

miserable fortnight of his near 15 years in charge. The Frenchman

has been forced to answer questions about his future following six

trophyless campaigns at the Emirates and more would have followed

had they failed to reach the Champions League for the first time in

14 seasons. “We live in a society where everybody has an opinion on

everything,” Wenger said after watching Robin van Persie and Theo

Walcott turn the game on its head. “I’m like somebody who flies a

plane for 30 years and I have to accept that somebody can come into

the cockpit and thinks he can fly the plane better than I do. “But

that’s part of our job and we have to accept that. “I just would

like to say that the club is in overall a very strong position

because tonight, for 15 years on the trot, we play in the Champions

League. “We have a new stadium and a fantastic training ground, a

very good financial situation and a very strong team.” Wenger was

confident this win would lift the gloom that has surrounded the

club following the double departure of captain Cesc Fabregas and

Samir Nasri, a winless start to the Premier League season and a

raft of injuries and suspensions. “We have been a little bit under

pressure and for us not to play the Champions League and with the

players who left, that pressure would’ve increased,

understandably,” he added. “Since the beginning of the season, I

feel a very strong, determined attitude within the team.” That

determination has so often been lacking in recent seasons but it

was in evidence on Wednesday night after Arsenal trailed at

half-time to Antonio Di Natale’s header. Admitting his relief,

Wenger said: “We responded in a very positive way, even being down

1-0. “We had a fantastic second half. “I’m very happy because we

kept composure. “We kept dominating, playing the football we want

to play.” The tie was still in the balance when Wojciech Szczesny

produced a brilliant penalty save to deny Di Natale making it 2-1

on the night. “That was a turning point of the game,” Wenger said.

“It was at 1-1. I think not only did it keep us of course qualified

in a comfortable way. “You could see mentally it has an impact on

their belief and they were not the same team after they missed the

penalty.” Wenger’s transfer policy was also vindicated somewhat by

an outstanding performance from summer signing Gervinho, who laid

on the equaliser. “I told you yesterday and many times that he will

be a big player for us,” Wenger said. “Sometimes the quality of the

player is linked with the transfer amount and it is not always the

case.” Wenger also played his part at half-time, having been

allowed to perform his usual duties after UEFA deferred his

two-match touchline ban. “It was important today because we were

under pressure and I still have some experience,” he said. Udinese

boss Francesco Guidolin admitted his side had been beaten by the

better team over two legs. “First, we need to accept that Arsenal

is a stronger team,” he said. “They came here and showed great

personality and I’m happy we kept the result so close over the two

matches. “If we would’ve scored the penalty, there would’ve been 20

minutes of fire on the pitch. “But after that, we stopped playing.”

Guidolin was hoping this defeat would not derail his side’s entire

season, as it might have done their opponents. He said: “It’s three

months we have been thinking about this dream so psychologically,

we could be affected.”