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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 22:47 GMT
Wenger pride as Arsenal oust Real
Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry celebrate victory
Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry celebrate victory
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger lavished praised on his under-strength side as they knocked out Real Madrid to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

He said after a goalless draw gave Arsenal a 1-0 aggregate win: "To play two games against Real and not concede a goal shows remarkable spirit.

"Something is happening with this team. They are gelling together. They have shown character, and that is very good.

"I feel we have grown as a team during these last two months."

Wenger praised goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, who produced several fine saves to seal Arsenal's place in the last eight.

He saved crucially from Raul and Wenger said: "One or two times we were lucky - and we needed that great save from Lehmann. The save was very important."

Wenger admitted he was surprised to be the last Premiership team in the competition after the exit of Chelsea and Liverpool.

Not winning anything again looks like it might happen now - big questions will be asked
David Beckham

He said: "I thought Liverpool would win but Benfica have now knocked out Liverpool and Manchester United and so they must have something.

"We have shown character and solidarity and always maintained the basic values of our club.

"I feel sometimes this season we have been kicked off the park without protection, maybe because we were a bit young and we couldn't face up to that.

"We tried to be faithful and sometimes we even looked naive because we tried to play football but I prefer that type of game, the type we have seen

Wenger also praised Real's attitude, saying: "They went at it, and so did we.

"Everybody wanted to score when they got the ball, and it was a great football game. Both teams tried to attack every time they could."

Arsenal captain Thierry Henry added: "We are going through maybe not in the Arsenal way - but we are through.

"It was a proper game. It had everything, a bit of tension at the end. It was not a boring 0-0.

"We didn't concede a goal home or away against Real Madrid - that is something special."

Real's England captain David Beckham was disappointed to go out, but praised Arsenal's performance in his first club game in his home country since leaving Manchester United.

He said: "It is disappointing going out at any stage of a competition.

"It is the first time I have come back to London, and I wanted it to be a happy occasion - but it was not to be.

"Always big questions are asked when a club as big as ours has not won anything for one season, never mind three.

"Not winning anything again looks like it might happen now - big questions will be asked.

"Arsenal defended as we expected. We expected to maybe score a few goals. We wanted a few and could not get them. But overall I wish them luck - they are a good team."

News conference: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Interview: Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp

Champions League photos
08 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries


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