'It was a big mental test for us today'

Having seen his side produce arguably their best performance of the season, it was no surprise to see a wide smile on the face of Arsene Wenger following our victory against Manchester City.

Beyond the fact that his side had reached a third Emirates FA Cup final in four seasons, the Arsenal manager was delighted with the unity the players showed.

This is what he had to say to the media afterwards:

on the performance and the response from a goal down…
I felt that we had a strong response today. We had a little bit of a cautious start, hesitant sometimes but we didn’t give chances away and we grew into the game. Slowly, we became better and better and in the second half I felt we were very strong, in extra-time very strong, we always looked solid and dangerous. We played more in the second half and I felt as well it was a big test for us today - it was a mental test because many people questioned ‘Can we turn up in an occasion like that?’ That’s why I am very proud for the players, because they showed they are united and determined.

on the players saying they want to win this cup for him…
No, I want them to enjoy it, to play together and to play for the club. That is for me the most important. To reach the targets that we set for them together. Football is a team sport and as a manager your biggest joy is when you feel you have a real team performance. That was the case today and that’s why I am happy today.

on the performance giving him belief that things will be better next season…
You know, I feel the club is in a very strong shape and that we have a very strong overall situation and a very strong team. We have shown that today. After that is for me the most important. One day I will leave anyway, so the most important is that I’m sure that Arsenal will always be a great club that everybody admires.

on what day that 'one day' will be…
I don’t know.

on whether he feels personally vindicated after recent weeks…
Honestly, I feel when you see today and you watch the stands, you see how big this club is. I feel just happy when our fans go home tonight and they are happy. When I don’t win the games I feel sad because I don’t feel that I give what people want. We have gone through a very difficult period and we faced some adversity that made the situation more difficult from inside as well. But we’ve shown a united response, not a divided response, but of course, mentally we were in a fragile position.

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