On the performance…
“I think overall in the first half I was really pleased with the way we moved the ball around when we were in possession. I thought we got a little bit impatient around the final third and a little bit sloppy.

“I thought in the second half we added that to our game. We looked a bit more sharp, a bit more lively around the attacking third, created a few good chances and I’m delighted with the performance overall.”

On the strong opposition line-up…
“Well I think it’s hard when you’re playing against a player of Kanu’s ability and knowledge. He kept dropping in and making an extra body in midfield. We had to just organise that a little bit but I think the players came to grips with it during the first half and I think they played really well.”

On the second-half improvement…
“The first half we a had a lot of the ball and, like I said, I think we got a little bit impatient. When you’re playing against senior players it takes a little bit of time to find your feet and I think the second half they got a bit more confident and we thought to ourselves ‘we can go on and win this’. There were a lot of senior players out there today for Portsmouth.”

On respecting the big names…
“I think there is a little bit too much respect sometimes. I do think you’ve got to give them their respect but you don’t fear them, you just go out there and play. I think the second half we really went at them a little bit more, created some good chances and I thought we maybe could have got a second goal.”

On the penalty decision…
“I thought it was a certain penalty, nobody could have any complaints with it at all.”

On his side being ‘worthy winners’…
“I think we were. There were a few senior players in their side but we really came into our own and our strength really told because they’re young legs for us, in the end I think we deserved the win tonight.”

On Mannone’s superb display…
“I think to be fair to Vito he’s training well and he’s put in a really good performance tonight like he has done all through the pre-season. That’s what happens when they get a bit older, they get a sustained level of performances, it’s not up and down. He’s a little bit older and he’s been around for a little bit longer and he can get that sustained level of performance.

“I think Vito has grown in stature [through Wenger not buying another keeper in the summer] and overall he had a really good performance tonight.”

On facing Aston Villa next…
“It’s always going to be a tough game against Villa. I think if our front players can really work in-and-out and have that bit more adventure going forward, a bit more inventiveness, then we can create some problems for Villa.”

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 17 Sep 2008