Arsene Wenger: 'Great mentality' says Arsenal manager after masterminding FA Cup victory over Manchester United

The Frenchman was delighted with his team's performance after they won 2-1

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger praised the calmness of Danny Welbeck as the former Manchester United player returned to Old Trafford to knock his former club out of the FA Cup.

The Arsenal manager said he waited until the last minute before deciding to play Welbeck, a decision that his counterpart, Louis van Gaal, said took him by surprise.

“He has pace and physique and we were able to take that little bit of risk without destroying the balance of our side and overall he had a great game,” said Wenger.

“When you play against your former club, we always want to show we are a great player but it is not easy to deal with the mental situation but he did not do anything different to his normal game. He just wanted to win.”

Wenger said he believed Arsenal’s first victory at Old Trafford in nine years would galvanise the club as it sought to retain the FA Cup and finish in the top four.

Given that they have drawn the winners of Bradford’s replayed quarter-final with Reading, the Arsenal manager said they would be favourites to reach a second successive FA Cup final. However, he recalled that last season they had been forced into a penalty shoot-out in their semi-final with Wigan. “When you win big games it is more mental and belief is very important,” he said after the 2-1 win.


“We showed a great mentality against a very physically committed Manchester United team and we did it well without forgetting to play our football. The team was a bit down at 1-1 because we thought we thought we should be ahead.

“We will be favourites to reach the final now but we have very tricky memories from last year in a game we were expected to win, so let us prepare well for it.”