Theo Walcott was proud of his side’s late-season rally to snatch a Champions League place - but he wants to be celebrating something much greater next year.

The England international played a major part as Arsenal overturned Tottenham’s seven-point advantage to finish in the top four for the 16th successive season.

For Walcott, the turning points seem to have been the defeat at White Hart Lane and the wonderful win at Bayern Munich that followed it.

“We had to prove people wrong,” he said. “We had to get something out of each other. We had a disappointing result at Tottenham and it is never nice when you lose against them. But then we thought if we can beat Bayern...

“I am proud of everyone in the dressing room. We have had some ups and downs but showed belief in one another and that is what we are made of at Arsenal.

“But we don’t want celebrations for the Champions League [qualification], we want to be challenging for the title. That is our next goal.”

Laurent Koscielny’s scrambled strike divided the teams on Sunday and it would have been more if Walcott had not nudged a late effort against the post. But the forward knows the Arsenal defence were the real difference on the day.

“They were fantastic,” said Walcott. “We had to dig deep but the defence has been rock solid. They have kept so many clean sheets I have lost count. Clean sheets win you games and we are proud we did our jobs.

“It was so tense. The pitch was not great at times and Newcastle showed that they should not be where they are in the league.

“But we knew it was in our hands and we had to do the job.”

Copyright 2014 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 Richard Clarke 20 May 2013