By Nik Brumsack

Arsène Wenger believes European experience was key in helping Chelsea to win the Champions League for the first time last season.

Chelsea had come close to winning the competition in recent seasons, losing to Manchester United in the final in 2008, and have reached the semi-final stage on four occasions since 2004.

Wenger says that experience was vital in helping Roberto Di Matteo’s team to win the tournament at the expense of Bayern Munich in May.

“They were efficient. Some years before, they were closer to win it than last year, but accumulated experience, tenacity and a bit of luck as well, got them the trophy. You have to congratulate them for that,” he said.

Chelsea overcame the likes of Napoli and Barcelona to take the trophy - though they rode their luck on occasions. Wenger was impressed by the attitude and application of Di Matteo’s side.

“Last year they had that kind of luck and you must give them credit as well, for the consistency and attitude they showed in the games where they were dominated, and the mental strength to have shown in these games to finally win it,” said Wenger.

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 27 Sep 2012