Arsene Wenger praised National League side Sutton United following the ‘quality’ display they put in against Arsenal on Monday evening.
The non-league club were beaten 2-0 by the Gunners in the fifth round of the FA Cup, Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott scoring in each half to set up a quarter-final clash against another non-league side, Lincoln City. Walcott’s goal was his 100th for Arsenal, making him just the 17th player in club history to reach that milestone
However, this was more about Sutton on Monday night that Theo, and the non-league side did threaten at times, with former Arsenal trainee Roarie Deacon striking the bar, and they never looked overawed by their big name opponents.
And Wenger admitted to talkSPORT he was impressed by the U’s performance, before praising his own team for dealing with them in a ‘professional’ manner.
“We did the job. It is very different, I must say, on this kind of pitch. It was not an easy game at all. We have to give them credit because every error we made, they took advantage of on this pitch. They played very well.
“It is basically division five, and when I arrived here 20 years ago in division five, they were not as fit physically as they were today. They were organized and had a huge desire. If we were not mentally prepared, we would not have gone through today.
“I don’t really enjoy tonight, because we absolutely had to do the job and it is tricky. It is important for the confidence of the players. At Bayern we were 1-1, and then in the second half it all went wrong, so at halftime today at 1-0 up it was not finished.”
In the next round of the FA Cup Arsenal will now face Lincoln, who top the division in which Sutton currently play, the National League.
“It’s a good warning for us tonight as Lincoln are top of their league,” Wenger added.
“They [Sutton] are 17th in the league, and that shows we have to prepare properly again because Lincoln just created a great upset and are a good side. SO we have to prepare well.”