Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hailed his side’s 2-0 victory over AC Milan in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie after enduring “a nightmare week” as manager of the Gunners.
Arsenal, who have recently endured problematic defeats to both Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion, was able to earn two crucial away goals in Milan, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey secured a comfortable win at the San Siro.
“It is an important win of course after we had a nightmare week,” he told BT Sport. “Overall it is important to win, but it is not qualification. We have to finish the job at home. I am happy with the spirit and response we gave.
“Our pace dropped after first 45 minutes. That was down to the fact we played four games in 10 days.”
If Arsenal lacked the same cutting edge after the interval there was equal cause for optimism in the way that they held Milan at bay in a second half as the hosts desperately chased a goal to bring themselves back in the tie.
Whilst it should be noted that, Suso aside, Gennaro Gattuso’s side had few players on the pitch who showed the craft to carve a way through an Arsenal defense that has looked anything but robust over recent weeks.
“We were not in a position to take risks, but we could not be too cautious as you lose fluidity,” Wenger added.
“We defended wit resilience until the end. That’s questioned many times on our side but we did that well.
“Your pride and desire to show quality has to come through in the game.”