By Richard Clarke

Mikael Silvestre was proud of the way Arsenal “rectified” the defeat at Sunderland by securing Champions League qualification on Tuesday night.

The French defender came on at half-time for the injured William Gallas against Standard Liege and helped Arsène Wenger’s side maintain their 2-0 lead. The victory meant Arsenal won Group H and thereby assured their passage through to the Knockout Stages for the tenth consecutive campaign.

With other big clubs having trouble in Europe this season, Silvestre argued Arsenal’s achievement should not be overlooked.

“We have seen Liverpool go out, Barcelona are struggling,” he said. “I think our group was well-balanced and we made a good campaign so we are proud of that.

“It was easy to control the game in the second half as we were 2-0 up. After the disappointment of this weekend it was good preparation for Chelsea too.

“I think at Sunderland we lacked a little bit of commitment. You drop one or two per cent and, that's it, you get punished. Tonight we wanted to rectify this and make sure we got the victory.”

Getting through with one game to spare also means Wenger can rest some players at Olympiacos on December 9; something that may ease his injury problems.

“It’s important for us,” said Silvestre. “At least we can save on energy, focus on the other games and also it gives you an opportunity to rotate the squad. December is a big period and you can see by then the body already showing some fatigue.

“The Sunderland defeat tells us that we can't rest and we have to keep going. We must treat every game the same no matter if it’s after an international break or in December when you have a game a week every week. The application has to be the same and so must be the determination.”

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25 Nov 2009