Arsène Wenger feels the labelling of his side as "over-achievers" is actually a compliment.

Sir Alex Ferguson used the term to describe Arsenal's appearance in the Champions League Final last season. Once the story had been filtered through the English media it was presented as the opening salvo in the traditional big-game banter that surrounds any fixture between Arsenal and Manchester United. However Wenger interpreted Ferguson's words in a very different way.

"I take that as a compliment because it takes a lot of quality, especially mental quality, when you box above your weight," said the Frenchman.

"We did not lose a game last year in the Champions League until the last part of the final. That is down to the quality of our performances.

"What he meant is we were very young and nobody expected us to be at that level. But the young players in the Champions League played without any pressure and this is why they could play at their real level.

"If you look at the statistics in the Champions League last season you will see [our success] was not a coincidence. And this year it is no coincidence again. There are some interesting statistics on us at the moment - passing in the final third is always a sign of quality, passing in the opposition half is always a sign of quality too. If you are an average team you cannot do that."



17/2 - Arsenal v Manchester United: Arsenal to win 2-1


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 19 Jan 2007