Arsenal victory was all in the mind - Wenger

By Trevor Huggins

Cardiff - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said good fortune and mental toughness were behind his team's penalty shootout win over Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Arsenal were dominated by the holders at the Millennium Stadium but held out for a goalless draw and a 5-4 victory on spot-kicks which was harsh on United.

"We were fortunate not to concede in the second half because United played well and created three or four great chances," Wenger told a news conference.

"We played a bit more not to lose, rather than to win, and we didn't create enough going forward."

The Frenchman, who won his fourth FA Cup in five final appearances since 1998, pointed to the recent high of crushing Everton 7-0 followed by a dip in form in last weekend's season-ending 2-1 defeat by Birmingham City.

"We switched off a bit physically after the Everton game, you could already see that at Birmingham, and it was difficult to switch it back on again today," he said.

"Overall, I feel we won it more with our mental strength and our resilience than with our usual style.

"We kept our nerve and that was vital in the penalty shootout, where we did extremely well."

Wenger also looked back to the Cup that got away, when Michael Owen scored twice in the last 10 minutes to give Liverpool a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the same stadium.

"We've won our fourth final...and basically the one we played the best in we lost," he said.

Wenger said Sol Campbell's recent return from a three-month injury absence was behind his decision to drop the England central defender in favour of Philippe Senderos.

"I've played him (Campbell) in the last two games and I just had the feeling he was not completely ready for 90 minutes - and we'd lost a few games in the last 15-20 minutes.

"Today, with playing extra time, I felt he would have been short with having been out for so long," Wenger said.


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