Arsene Wenger compared Arsenal to a boxer getting back off the canvas after their 2-0 win over AC Milan in the Europa League.
The Gunners took control of their last-16 tie with a victory at San Siro, courtesy of a first goal for the club for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a strike from Aaron Ramsey.
The result ended a four-game losing streak in all competitions for Wenger’s men, which included back-to-back 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final and the Premier League.
The manager believes his side found it hard to recover during a hectic run of four matches in 10 days, but he was delighted with their resilient display
“It’s what we wanted. At some stage, you need to respond,” he told a news conference.
“We have won a game, [but] we are not qualified. It will lift the belief of the team because we lost three games in six days.
“In England, we have a strange system. We played a cup final in the middle of the season and then again against the same opponent on Thursday.
“It’s like a boxing match. We had no time to recover, no breather. We needed to find mental resources and not just accept because we are disappointed that we will lose the game.
“When you have this big disappointment, you forget quickly that you have this big quality. Nothing is permanent in life. We need to be pragmatic. Sport is sport.
“We started the game and faced three corners and maybe got away with it. We need to accept that and maybe no one accepts that coincidence is part of the game.”
Wenger insists the performance highlighted why he has every reason to have faith in his players’ mental toughness.
“As you said, that’s what we want to show – that that’s in front of us,” he said. “That’s what you want to show: that we have mental resources.
“People forget that, to get to a cup final in English football, you need quality.”