Thu, Nov 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Arsene Wenger backs team to complete great escape

AFP, LONDON

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal will complete their Champions League escape act by securing the result they need against Olympiakos to reach the last 16.

“What we wanted is to come out of the game with a chance to qualify. We had to do our job and Bayern had to do theirs,” Wenger said. “How big the chance to qualify is I don’t know, but I believe we can do it.”

“First of all we need to win. It might not be enough to just do that, but if you lead 1-0 you can win 2-0,” he said.

“One advantage is the task is very clear. Of course it is vital to score the first goal,” he said.

While Wenger is confident of Arsenal’s progress, he knows his team have lost on their past three visits to Olympiakos in the Champions League and this time the always volatile Greek fans will be even more fired up.

The Gunners boss expects a hostile atmosphere, but he does not believe it will get out of hand, despite the recent cancelation of the Panathinaikos against Olympiakos clash due to serious crowd trouble.

“Sometimes we have been there already qualified. This time we need to qualify. It’s tough, but I believe we can do it,” he said.

“You have to trust UEFA and the organization over there to ensure it is handled well,” Wenger said.

“It is the Champions League and there are never any problems on that front usually,” he added.

Wenger was delighted with Sanchez’s masterclass and he claimed he had no qualms about leaving the Chile forward on even when the result was long since decided.

“Alexis is a very important player,” he said. “I would have loved to take him off, but I needed to give Olivier Giroud a breather.”

“Once it is 3-0 you are in a position where Sanchez doesn’t need to work back so you can save his energy a bit by playing him up front,” he said.

“We played at a good pace and produced a game of quality that we wanted. “The speed of our passing and movement gave Zagreb a problem. We had a game of quality and control,” he added.

Dinamo manager Zoran Mamic admitted his side had been out-classed and he backed Arsenal to get the result they need in Greece.

“We tried to do our best. We opened the game very well, but when they put the pace on it was very hard,” Mamic said.

“They were really pressing. They were good on the counter-attack. They really controlled the match and I can only congratulate them,” he said.

“We have to be honest. There is a big difference in money and quality of players between ourselves and teams like Arsenal,” he added.

“I’m sure they can go through,” he said. “They have much more quality than Olympiakos in my opinion.”

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