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.”