Mathieu Flamini has praised Arsenal’s togetherness after they progressed to the group stages of the Champions League for the 17th consecutive season.
On a tight and tense evening at Emirates Stadium, Alexis Sanchez’s first goal for the club ultimately proved enough to see off the challenge of Besiktas.
The Gunners were forced to play the final 15 minutes with 10 men following Mathieu Debuchy’s red card and Flamini was delighted with the way the team responded.
“It was not easy at all,” he told Arsenal Player.
“It was a tough game for us but we showed great character again. We didn’t give up until the last minute. The team gave everything and we even had to play 10 against 11 at the end, so it was definitely not easy.
The Frenchman revealed the intensity of the game saying it demanded a “100 per cent” from them following the equally physically demanding encounter last weekend against Everton at the Goodison Park.
“It was very tough, physically especially, because we just had a big match at Everton where we were 2-0 down and had to come back. Today we had to give 100 per cent again. It was not easy but the team spirit, the character was fantastic. I’m very happy because we had to fight for that one.
Flamini who put up a decent performance playing the defensive midfield role in the absence of injured skipper; Mikel Arteta was equally pleased with the performance of his teammates.
“We controlled the game and played nice football. In this game, it’s important to kill the [tie]. Killing the game would have meant scoring the second goal. We didn’t – everyone was worried until the last minute but we did a great job with this victory. It was important for everyone.
“I could feel the pressure because [we were] playing 10 against 11 with 15 minutes to go against a team who were pushing with nothing to lose. With us not scoring the second goal, of course there was a lot of pressure but the fans, they were amazing. They were behind us and played a great game too.”
In my own opinion, Flamini had a much more decent game in the middle of the park last night compared to his previous matches for the Gunners in recent times. Do you agree with me?