By Chris Harris

As far as Gilberto is concerned, anything less than a place in next season's Champions League would be "unacceptable" for a club of Arsenal's stature.

The Brazilian helped his team take a major step towards the top-four finish they need to join Europe's elite with a 2-1 victory against Bolton at Emirates Stadium. Now he wants Arsenal to finish the job in hand and soothe the pain of a season without silverware.

"It was important to win again," said Gilberto. "It's important for the fourth place, for the Champions League. But we have to keep going because we've got another important game against Manchester City on Tuesday and we have to keep the same shape.

"The last few games, West Ham at home and Newcastle away, where we played well but didn't win, those situations made me frustrated. We didn't get the results we deserved. But against Bolton everything was good. We conceded a goal first but we came back and kept our passing game. I think Bolton found it difficult to cope with us because of the speed of our passing and our quality.

"This season has been so hard for us, so painful, especially in the last few weeks since we lost to Chelsea in the Carling Cup Final. After that we got knocked out of Champions League and FA Cup and then we had a few bad results.

"But in football we don't have time to complain about what we didn't do, the only thing we need to do is put our minds forward to do our best. It's important we keep consistent and this year we have been a little inconsistent. That is why we're not in a good position."

If that search for consistency proves fruitful, there is no reason why Arsenal can't challenge for the title next season. Gilberto believes the squad will be better equipped this time next year, even if Arsène Wenger does not bring in reinforcements during the summer.

"We've got a lot of quality here," said Gilberto, "even if they are young players. They just need time to read more of the game but it takes time. I think next year they will be stronger. That's what we expect of them and what they expect from themselves as well.

"For two seasons we have been in transition. A lot of young players have come into the team and they needed time to grow up and develop. But when you play in a big team like Arsenal you don't have proper time, especially if you are the first option of the manager.

"They have done very well so far and I expect them to be stronger next season. They will certainly get a lot more experience from this painful time we are having together."

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Chris Harris 16 Apr 2007