Arsene Wenger hails his team’s attitude, Sanogo and the path forward

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Following Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund, manager Arsene Wenger discussed his side’s solidarity, the decision to play Yaya Sanogo and the squad’s injury issues.

Wenger was in good spirits following his side’s victory that put an end to his two-match losing skid.

“We were more under pressure because on Saturday we played well but maybe we were victims of our generous attitude going forward,” Wenger said.

“We talked about it. The difference in the big games is being 1-0 up or 1-0 down. When you’re 1-0 down you have to chase the game and sometimes you want it so much – especially when you control the game like we did on Saturday.”

“We had a good start and overall it was a very intense game between two very good teams where you had to fight for every ball and be focused. I felt we had a good combination between our usual passing game and our transition from defense to attack. We were highly focused to defend well together from the first to the last minute and we always looked dangerous.”

But today, it was the 21-year-old Sanogo who gave the Gunners plenty of breathing room early on, scoring just 73 seconds into the match. “I decided tonight to go a bit longer from the start and he protected the ball well and won many challenges. He’s a young boy but he he has presence, character and he’s naturally committed. He has a natural, aggressive attitude up front that is vital and very important.”

It wasn’t all good for Arsenal, however, as Mikel Arteta went down with a calf injury that Wenger said could keep him out “for some time” and Jack Wilshere, who’s ankle injury suffered against United could require surgery.

For now though, Wenger is focusing on the positive – a strong performance that sees Arsenal advance to the knockout stage. The blueprint for the road is straightforward: “From now until February we need to improve as a team, get encouragement from tonight’s game and then hope we have nearly all our players back in the next round. You see who is qualified around Europe and there are many teams who are at the top, top level. There are three or four teams you don’t want to play.”