Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has hailed the response of his players to fight back after going two goals down against CSKA Moscow in their Europa League second leg, but admits that the Gunners were perhaps not prepared for the intensity of the Russian side.
CSKA posed a dramatic comeback at home after losing 4-1 at the Emirates in the quarter final first leg. The home side were one goal away from progressing to the semi finals on away goals before Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey saved Arsenal's blushes and kept their European hopes alive.
"Maybe we were a bit surprised by the intensity at the start," Wenger admitted on BT Sport after the match (via BBC Sport). "After that we came back."
"We were in trouble in the first half. In the first half the distances were too big. At 2-1 we looked good to get to 2-2 and we did."
Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin scored for Moscow, both goals coming from picking up loose balls after Petr Cech had initially made a save. Arsenal were penned back for most of the match and did not register a shot on target until the 70th minute.
Wenger: “Golovin is an outsanding player and had a good game again. At the moment we’re not in transfer mode. I could not see one bad player in CSKA tonight.”— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) April 12, 2018
Arsenal were rescued when Danny Welbeck broke through CSKA's defence to finish past Igor Akinfeev. The Gunners now await their opponents for their first European semi final for nine years. Atletico Madrid, Marseille and RB Salzburg make up the rest of the final four.
"After moving to a back five we were more stable and didn't concede as many chances. Their second was from distance, but in the box we didn't give anything away.
"We have players who can always score. Once we got to 2-1 it was a big blow for them and they didn't recover."