By Chris Harris

Wojciech Szczesny believes his vital penalty save against Udinese was a psychological triumph as well as a technical one.

The Pole flew across his goal on the hour mark to push Antonio di Natale's spot kick over the crossbar and keep Arsenal 2-1 ahead on aggregate in their Champions League play-off in Italy.

Within ten minutes the visitors were out of sight thanks to Theo Walcott's fine finish but Szczesny's intervention was certainly the turning point of a captivating second leg. Afterwards the 21-year-old revealed how he gained the upper hand on Udinese's penalty taker.

"I just tried to get in Di Natale’s head," said Szczesny.

"I gave him a little bit of stick and was probably not very nice to him but it worked so I am delighted. I told him I was too good for him and that he wasn’t going to score. But in a nice way! I got in his head in the end because he missed the penalty so it worked.

"He is a quality player of course – he showed that in the first half with his finish. I don’t think a lot of players in the world could have finished that the way he did. So you have to give him a lot of credit. But it makes me even happier to know I saved a penalty at such a crucial moment against such a quality player.

"I don’t think it's my best save. Someone said once that there are no good saves at penalties – they are just poor penalties taken. I don’t take too much credit – I went the right way and when you do that you have a 50 per cent chance of saving the penalty.

"I don’t think it was a great save but I’m still very happy with it."

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25 Aug 2011