Wenger hails players for top-four finish
Updated: Monday, 20 May 2013 09:09
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed the "exceptional attitude and determination" of his players after they secured a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League at the expense of arch rivals Tottenham with a 1-0 win at Newcastle.
Central defender Laurent Koscielny stabbed home from close range seven minutes after the break at St James' Park to ensure the Gunners ended the season a point ahead of Spurs, leaving Wenger beaming.
"I am happy because the exceptional attitude and determination of this group of players has been rewarded," the Frenchman said.
"They continued to believe when we were seven points behind Tottenham in mid-March. We had no room for error anymore and you could never see any sign of giving in.
"That's why the exceptional mental attitude of the players has been rewarded."
However, Wenger warned his players that the job is not yet complete, with a potentially tricky qualifier to come before they can install themselves alongside the continent's elite.
He said: "It means to us to be able to play with the top teams in Europe - that's what you want.
"It means as well that it's easier to bring in players when you have a chance to be in the Champions League - let's not forget, we are not in yet, we have to qualify and that is always a very tricky round for us.
"But at least we have a chance."