By Joe Brewin
Robin van Persie admits there was more than just a third-placed finish at stake in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal secured a spot in next season’s Champions League with a battling victory at West Brom to finish one point and one place above north London rivals Tottenham.
Spurs have never finished above the Gunners under Arsène Wenger’s stewardship - and the Dutchman had no intention of letting that happen this season.
“It was double [pressure],” the captain told Arsenal Player. “We knew what was at stake and that made the game a bit tense.
"I didn't really expect a proper game of football but it doesn't matter, sometimes you have to dig in hard, work for each other and play for the team. I think everyone did that here.
“The main thing was that we had to qualify, everyone is very pleased and everyone is enjoying this moment. It is just a fantastic feeling again to be ahead of Spurs. I heard that they won but it didn't really matter because we won our game and that is just the best feeling of all.”
Arsenal’s difficult start to the campaign had cast hopes of a strong finish into doubt and Van Persie is delighted his side managed to secure third spot.
“It is incredible,” said the striker. “We had to dig deep and come back on a couple of occasions when we were having a hard time. At the start of the season we had a very difficult period but we bounced back very well from that.
“After that we had the games against Milan and Sunderland which were quite a hard blow but we did bounce back - even if the last few weeks have been squeezing at times.
"In my opinion we should have won a couple of games we actually drew so we made it a bit hard for ourselves, but to get a win here was the icing on the cake.”
Watch the full interview with Robin on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 14 May 2012