By Chris Harris

Arsenal have had their critics this season but the players never lost faith in themselves, according to Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsène Wenger's side had to settle for one point from their first two Premier League games and, although a number of players have joined the Club this summer, the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have fuelled doubts about the squad.

When Antonio di Natale headed Udinese level on aggregate in Wednesday's vital Champions League play-off, Arsenal's run of 13 consecutive years in the group stage looked under threat. But second-half goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott took the Gunners through.

Szczesny's stunning penalty save helped turn the tide in Arsenal's favour and the Polish goalkeeper insists that he and his team-mates had never lost heart.

"At half-time there might have been a lot of people questioning the team because we were 1-0 down at such a difficult venue against a very good Udinese side," said Szczesny.

"I think the only people who actually believed in the team was the team itself. All the players in the dressing room were very motivated and had the belief we could come back into the game and score the important away goal. We showed very good mental strength and in the second-half we showed good quality as well.

"The last couple of games we had disappointing results but as I said, there was never a doubt in our heads that we are a very good side. So we are going to keep going, put in a good performance at Old Trafford on Sunday and see how it goes from there. The team believes we are capable of playing very well and winning games.

"The only people who questioned the team and the manager were the media. Inside the team, we don’t do that at all. We know how good we are and how good our manager is. We believe in what he is doing so I believe we answered a lot of questions last night.

"It has been very difficult but you don’t expect easy games in the Premier League or Champions League anymore. It’ll be tough for the rest of the season but I believe we have what it takes to come out on top."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
25 Aug 2011