Wenger relieved after win in Udine

Published Aug. 24, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

Arsene Wenger was a relieved man after his Arsenal side secured a place in the Champions League group stage for the 14th successive season.

The Gunners endured a nervy time en route to a 3-1 aggregate win over Udinese, with Antonio Di Natale cancelling out their first-half lead before Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott secured a 2-1 victory on the night which ensured their side's passage.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny also saved Di Natale's penalty, in between the two Arsenal goals, after Thomas Vermaelen was harshly penalised for handball.

Wenger told ITV1: "(There is) relief of course, we don't want to go out - and pride as well, because we had our backs to the wall and responded very well in the second half.

"There was only one team in the second half - Wojciech saved the penalty, which was very generous, but we played a great game tonight.

"It showed that under pressure this team can respond with football, remain calm and composed and try to play like we can. We had a great belief in the way we want to play.

"There are many questions around our club, if we had gone out tonight it would have been much worse. It was important not financially, like many people have said, but more for the fact we want to play at the top level."


Speculation has surrounded Arsenal's ability and intent to compete in the transfer market ahead of next Wednesday's deadline, but Wenger said: "We work very hard, I have said that many times, but we have many players out as well so I think we can be very positive as well.

"There may be signings but I cannot give you any names tonight. I cannot lie and say we sign somebody tomorrow."