8 Mar 2012

Arsenal's heroic failure inspiration for strong finish

7:46 am on 8 March 2012

Football manager Arsene Wenger hopes Arsenal's glorious failure in the Champions League on Tuesday will inspire them to finish the season on a high and earn themselves a place back in the European competition next season.

The Gunners went down with all guns blazing losing their Round of 16 tie 4-3 on aggregate to AC Milan after a superb fightback ended in a 3-nil win in the second leg at the Emirates which took them frustratingly close to saving the tie.

Arsenal were attempting to become the first side in European history to overturn a 4-nil first leg deficit and qualify, but although they fell just short, Wenger was not totally downbeat.

Looking ahead to the next two months, and asked if they could finish high enough to qualify for next season's competition he admitted it would be difficult but said the team had grown and was optimistic they could finish the season strongly.

With Spurs showing signs of vulnerability and with fifth-placed Chelsea in transition following the exit of manager Andre Villas-Boas, the odds of Arsenal booking a 15th successive Champions League appearance look promising.