Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FRONT PAGE -

Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger be­trays his emo­tions at the fi­nal whis­tle at Wem­b­ley yes­ter­day af­ter see­ing his side come from be­hind to beat Manch­ester City 2-1 in the sec­ond FA Cup semi-fi­nal, set­ting up a show­down with Chelsea on May 27.

MAN­AGER Arsene Wenger in­sists Arse­nal’s FA Cup semi-fi­nal tri­umph over Manch­ester City proved doubters wrong over their big-game cre­den­tials.

De­spite a rugged first-half dis­play, the Gun­ners fell be­hind thanks to Ser­gio Aguero’s sec­ond­half strike, but showed re­silience and re­sponded through Nacho Mon­real’s equaliser be­fore Alexis Sanchez booked their place in next month’s fi­nal in ex­tra-time.

In ar­guably Arse­nal’s big­gest game of the sea­son, Wenger’s men dug deep and fought for the vic­tory, some­thing the French­man ap­plauded.

The Gun­ners boss said: “I felt it was a big test for us, a men­tal test be­cause many peo­ple ques­tion if we can turn up on an oc­ca­sion like this and that’s why I’m very proud of the play­ers be­cause they stayed united and de­ter­mined.

“We had a strong re­sponse; we had a lit­tle bit of a cau­tious start, hes­i­tant some­times, but we didn’t give chances away and we grew into the game and slowly we be­came bet­ter and bet­ter.

“In the sec­ond half we were very strong and in ex­tra-time very strong. We al­ways looked solid and dan­ger­ous be­cause we played more in the sec­ond half.

“I want them (the play­ers) to en­joy play­ing to­gether and to play for the club. That is, for me, the most im­por­tant thing and to reach the targets we set to­gether.

City boss Pep Guardi­ola failed to un­der­stand how Ra­heem Ster­ling’s first-half ‘goal’ was ruled out, but in­sists his side will be­come a stronger team next sea­son.

Ster­ling smashed home a re­bound off Petr Cech, but the ball was ruled to have drifted out of play be­fore­hand from Leroy Sane’s cross. Re­plays sug­gested the lines­man made the wrong call.

“The lines­man could not see that sit­u­a­tion,” Guardi­ola said. “And to see that ball you have to be in line and when you are four or five me­tres away you can­not see it.”


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