Arsene Wenger Happy to Come out Fighting with Milan Win After 'Nightmare Week'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 2018

Arsenal's coach Arsene Wenger from France looks on during the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first-leg football match AC Milan Vs Arsenal at the 'San Siro Stadium' in Milan on March 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was relieved to end a "nightmare week" after his side beat AC Milan in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, likening their recent form to a knocked-down boxer on the ropes. 

The north London side ended a four-match losing streak after Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey scored in a 2-0 win at the San Siro, leading Wenger to praise his men for responding to recent setbacks, via Goal:

MailOnline's Will Griffee provided a transcript of Wenger's post-match analogy:

"It has been a nightmare week, but it was a good result but it is not qualification, so we have to finish the job at home.

[...]

"Like a boxing match, when you are half knocked-down and another [punch] comes again, and that's what happened to us.

"But at some stage, you have to respond with your pride and your desire that you have the quality to win the game and that's what we did."

Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at home to Swedish outfit Ostersunds in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 clash began the four-loss run, along with two defeats to Manchester City and a reverse at Brighton & Hove Albion last Sunday.

Wenger also spoke to ITV commentator Sam Matterface and insisted that while results of late might have been lacklustre, his side's performances haven't been as dire as some have suggested:

The first of Arsenal's back-to-back 3-0 defeats against Manchester City came at Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup final on February 25, and Wenger added the requirement to respond positively to that result against the same opponent four days later was "hard psychologically."

Victory at the San Siro gave Arsenal just their fifth win of 2018, and defeat in Italy on Thursday would have seen the Gunners lose five in a row for the first time since 1977, per Daniel Damian of AllArsenal.com.

Eurosport UK's Tom Adams warned against overexcitement following Thursday's result, bringing fans back down to Earth after saying Milan were poor on the night:

The Rossoneri came into Thursday's game having kept clean sheets in their previous six outings, but Mkhitaryan and Ramsey ended that streak to put Arsenal in the driver's seat.

The Gunners are back in Premier League action on Sunday when they play host to Watford, who will test whether this bounce back to form is genuine, with Wenger's men having still lost their last four domestic matches.

The Europa League will more than likely stand as Wenger's priority for the end-of-season run-in, as it is looking like their most plausible route back into the Champions League, with the Gunners sixth in the Premier League and 13 points off the top four.

Thursday's triumph at the San Siro may have put some life in the legs of the English outfit, but they will need to string some consistent results together before they can celebrate any kind of victory for the season.

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