By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger believes that Arsenal’s dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against Roma means more than just a place in the Champions League Quarter Final.

The Gunners saw their slender first-leg advantage overturned within 10 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico and with the aggregrate scores still locked at the end of extra time, the tie went to penalties.

Despite falling behind in the shoot-out, Manuel Almunia’s save and Max Tonetto’s wayward penalty saw Arsenal qualify in the most dramatic of fashions.

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Wenger discussed the psychological benefits of such an emotional victory.

“I believe we can take mental strength into the rest of the season,” said Wenger. “That will be needed until the end of the season anyway.

“We decided to keep going no matter what happened and it was a good test on that front.

“After the first penalty was missed we were in a situation where we needed to keep belief, that is what we have shown; we have the mental strength.

“What I like at the moment is the consistency we show, the focus I see in this team on a daily basis and the hunger in the squad.

“I have been impressed with how they have fought against the odds since the start of the season.”

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13 Mar 2009