Wenger always kept the faith

Arsene Wenger says he always had faith that Arsenal would

qualify for the UEFA Champions League after a 1-0 win at Newcastle

United secured fourth spot.

Laurent Koscielny’s second-half volley clinched the required win

for Arsenal to render Tottenham Hotspur’s victory by the same

scoreline over Sunderland immaterial.

Earlier in the season, the Gunners trailed Tottenham and Everton

in the race for fourth, but Wenger was always confident his team

could reel in their rivals.

“I’m proud of the character and the spirit, especially with all

we had to deal with during the season,” Wenger told Sky Sports.

“The players are special. I’ve told them many times and they’ve

shown it. In the last two months they have been absolutely

exceptional.

“It’s a good basis, as well, on a longer term to go into next

season on such a strong run.

“I’m very proud. We were very far behind Tottenham and even

after defeat there (at White Hart Lane) we’ve shown character and

attitude to come back and make 73 points, which is three points

better than last season.

“I have had many groups in my life and the focus and the desire

to do well was always exceptional. It’s one of the best groups I’ve

had in my life on that front.

“The combination of quality and attitude has been great, and

that’s why I always had faith that we would come back.”

Wenger is now hoping that Arsenal can build on the momentum

gained in recent months by challenging for the Premier League title

next season.

He added: “We want to do that next season. Let’s not forget the

consistency we’ve shown over the years in qualifying for the

Champions League and knowing everybody is desperate to get in

there.

“Consistency is the most difficult thing in our sport. We need

it over the season.

“We have played against a very good Tottenham team, a very good

Everton team and we needed to be really special to come back to get

in front of them.”