By Chris Harris

Thomas Vermaelen is convinced that Arsenal will be back in the Champions League next season - if they keep hitting the heights of their Milan display.

Arsène Wenger's side were rank outsiders to qualify for the last eight of this year's competition after shipping four goals at the San Siro but an incredible fightback on Tuesday hauled them back into contention before Milan clung on for a 4-3 aggregate win.

Vermaelen was disappointed but proud as he left Emirates Stadium and he believes Arsenal have shown they have the quality to qualify for a 15th consecutive season.

"It's really important because Arsenal is a team that belongs in the Champions League," said Vermaelen.

"We will try to achieve that in the next games and get into the top four. At the moment, after the way we played in the first half against Milan, I am really confident.

"It's hard to be consistent in top-level football. The team that is the most consistent will win prizes, I believe in that. But we have to be confident that we have the quality in the team and that is what we showed against Milan.

"The way we played in the first half, if we can do that consistently all season I am not worried because we will be in the top four.

"Of course we are disappointed because we are out of the Champions League but we need to take the great feeling out of this game, and take that into the next game [against Newcastle]."

Watch the full interview with Thomas on Arsenal Player.

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7 Mar 2012