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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 May, 2005, 20:18 GMT 21:18 UK
Wenger proud of players after win
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (right) celebrates winning the FA Cup
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to his players after their FA Cup win over Manchester United.

Wenger's team won on penalties after being outplayed for large periods of the match and the Gunners boss said: "We really had to dig deep.

"I'm very proud because it was a difficult game.

"We knew we had to be a little bit more cautious than usual because we knew we had less attacking potential than we normally have."

Wenger admitted United were the better team for long phases of the game - but was delighted by his team's performance in the penalty shoot-out.

Arsenal scored all five of their spot kicks to seal the first ever penalty shoot-out in an FA Cup Final.

"It was important to score the first goal and with neither team scoring it remained tight for a long, long period," added Wenger.

I just wanted to shove it down their mouths
Arsenal's Ashley Cole on response to taunts from Man Utd fans
"There were some times in the second half when we were a bit lucky but we defended very well and to keep a clean sheet is good.

"Of course it is bad for the team that loses on penalties but it was a very intense game."

"We practised penalties a bit but you don't score because of the practising - keeping your nerve is more important," said Wenger.

Ashley Cole admitted the victory was a case of sweet revenge over the United fans who gave him a hard time throughout the match.

Cole was singled out for attention because of his involvement in the recent alleged 'tapping-up' controversy.

"They were trying to hammer me and get on my back and I just wanted to shove it down their mouths," said Cole.

"I've had it for three months now so it's normal. It's the best way to respond. It was a great team performance, we didn't have too many chances but we defended really well and battled really hard.

"I've got two years left on my contract so there's nothing more I can do. I just hope people realise I was committed to the season and tried my hardest in every game.

"There's been a lot things written about me which are not true and it has been a great relief and a great joy to win another final."

Jens Lehmann had a superb game for Arsenal and saved from Paul Scholes during the penalty shoot-out.

"The guys have done fantastic to score all five penalties," said the German goalkeeper. "It's a big mental achievement.

"It's a long season and sometimes you need a breather, like I did.

"Unfortunately it was a bit too long for me but I've come back into the team and I'm very happy now.

"I came here to win trophies and I've won one now."

Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira said he felt for Manchester United.

"You have to give credit to Manchester United," said Vieira. "They created so many chances.

"We worked very hard for each other, maybe some will say we did not deserve to win but our spirit was fantastic.

"We took it right to the end but had no real power to go forward."

Midfielder Gilberto Silva agreed Manchester United had enjoyed most of the play.

"United had good moments, they had the ball most of the time," said Silva.

"But we were strong and now we are the winners. It happens in football."

Interview: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Interview: Arsenal's Ashley Cole

Interview: Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira


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