Wenger on Champions League and injuries

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal's win over Crystal Palace was the ideal way to prepare for their Champions League qualifier against Besiktas.

The Gunners face Turkish opposition in the play-off round for the second year running on Tuesday as they aim to secure their place in the group stages for a 17th successive season.

Wenger has some fitness concerns ahead of the trip to Istanbul with Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs both carrying knocks, but the manager is confident his side will maintain their focus to overcome a difficult tie.

"We are desperate to go through, no matter what it costs we want to go through"

"We are desperate to do it because we want to play in the Champions League and we know how big these games are," Wenger said.

"We had to give a lot [against Crystal Palace], hopefully we will recover and be ready for Tuesday night.

"We are desperate to go through, no matter what it costs we want to go through. We have always a difficult draw, we had Fenerbahce last year, this time we have Besiktas. It's difficult.

"We will assess Koscielny on Monday; if he's fit and capable to play, we play him. It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton. But in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker.

"But we have Bellerin, who was 19 today, who can come in. we are a bit short. I hope Koscielny responds well to today's game."

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