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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Wenger takes swipe at his critics
Arsene Wenger celebrates his team's result against Villarreal on Wednesday
It completes a work of nine-and-a-half years and a lot of effort
Arsene Wenger on reaching the Champions League final
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have proved the critics wrong after reaching next month's Champions League final.

Arsenal held Villarreal to a goalless draw to go through 1-0 on aggregate.

And Gunners manager Wenger said: "There was a big doubt about Arsenal in Europe for years, even when we were dominating in the championship.

"That is why I am very happy that finally we have got there when nobody expected us to and with a side who they said had no chance at the start."

Arsenal have not conceded a goal in 10 Champions League matches and Wenger said that his team have an excellent chance in the final, which will be played in Paris on 17 May.

"We have knocked out Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal and we have every right to believe we can win the final," he added.

Being Spanish, I would prefer to meet Barcelona in the final
Jose Antonio Reyes

"We will go into the final and I believe we will see a different Arsenal, we will have recovered physically and we have everything to win.

"I believe we can do it."

Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann saved a late penalty from Juan Roman Riquelme as the Gunners went on to reach their first Champions League final.

"It completes a work of nine-and-a-half years and a lot of effort," said the Gunners boss of his time at the club.

"It is a reward for my staff and people who work with me. I have had the support of the board no matter what decisions I made in all these years.

"The best way to reward them all is to go into the final and win it."

Arsenal will discover who they will play in the final on 17 May after Wednesday's match between Barcelona and AC Milan.

Barca hold a 1-0 lead going into the second leg and Wenger said a final against Frank Rijkaard's team would be a superb occasion.

"There will be big expectations and I hope it will be a fantastic football game but it is not certain Barcelona will go through, even if it is 70% that they will," added the Frenchman.

Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes is also hoping that Barca manage to hold off Milan.

"Being Spanish, I would prefer to meet Barcelona in the final," said Reyes.

"It would be a great European final and a big challenge for us.

"It means a lot to me and to the rest of the team. We are all delighted and excited about the final.

"It's difficult to describe what I feel with words. The mood in the changing room was of sheer joy and there was no-one happier than Arsene Wenger."


VOTE RESULTS
How would you sum up Arsenal's European run this season?
Right breaks at the right time
35%
New Gunners coming good
65%
34010 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



SEE ALSO
Why Arsenal came good in Europe
26 Apr 06 |  Arsenal
Road to Paris
26 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries
Football photos 25/04
25 Apr 06 |  Photo Galleries


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