Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hailed his players’ attitude after they sealed a top-four finish on Sunday with a 1-0 win at Newcastle.
The Emirates Stadium outfit booked their place in next season’s UEFA Champions League qualifying round thanks to Laurent Koscielny’s second-half strike.
And Wenger was quick to credit his squad for overcoming a seven-point deficit to usurp rivals Tottenham, who looked certainties to play in Europe’s premier club competition following their 1-0 win over Arsenal back in March.
“We knew before the game that we had to win and any other result could kick us out of a potential Champions League group stage and we were right because Tottenham and Chelsea won and we had a big disadvantage to play away from home,” he said.
“The exceptional attitude and determination of this group of players has been rewarded, they continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in mid-March. We had no room for error anymore, and you could not see any sign of giving in.”
Arsenal have suffered numerous disappointments this season despite its positive conclusion, most notably shock cup exits at the hands of Bradford City and Blackburn Rovers.
However, Wenger stressed that his team’s professionalism never dipped despite those various moments of strife.
He added: “I’ve had many, many groups in my life, and this is one on that front who have been absolutely outstanding, they have shown a combination of qualities as well as attitude. I have always admired the way they have behaved.
“We have faced so many storms as well with Bradford with Blackburn and with Bayern at home, and never could you see that the players could dismantle or that the group was not united, and that is not easy in the modern game.”