• Premier League

Wenger 'proud' of Arsenal mentality

ESPN staff
May 19, 2013
Arsenal earn Champions League spot

Arsene Wenger has praised his Arsenal players after the Gunners sealed a place in the top four to qualify for the Champions League at the expense of North London rivals Tottenham.

Arsenal knew victory at Newcastle would clinch fourth spot, and Laurent Koscielny's strike in the second half delivered Wenger maximum points in a 1-0 win. Tottenham defeated Sunderland by the same score line but Gareth Bale's fine goal was not enough to topple the Gunners.

"I'm proud of the character and the spirit, especially with all we had to deal with during the season," Wenger said to 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."

Arsenal trailed Tottenham by seven points in March when they lost out in the North London derby at White Hart Lane. However, a run of eight wins from their last ten games ensured they secured the coveted Champions League position and reach the competition for a 16th successive season.

"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," the Frenchman said.

"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."

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