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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 25, 2006

'Paris heartache has motivated us' - Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes last season's Champions League final heartache only served to make his squad hungry for more European success.

The Gunners were just 13 minutes away from victory over Barcelona in Paris, having played most of the match with only 10 men following the dismissal of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.

The determination of the emerging side to succeed against the odds proved one of the reasons why captain Thierry Henry pledged his future to the Premiership club.

Having come through qualifying and victory in their opening Group G match, Wenger's men will take a big stride towards reaching the second phase should they beat Porto at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow night.

The Arsenal manager is in his 10th season at the north London club, and has every faith in the current crop of first team talent.

Wenger declared: 'I want to win it every year. We were very close last year.

'It has motivated us even more so to come back and win it.

The Gunners boss added: 'For a long time people said: 'Okay, Arsenal you do well in the Premiership - but not in Europe.'

'Now we have convinced everyone we can do well in Europe as well.

'To win it, however, we first have to come back to the final.

'It is still a very long way and fortunately for us, I feel the team has the first ingredient and is motivated to do it.

'Everyone takes us very seriously.'

Wenger feels 'the belief is much higher than two weeks ago' following morale-boosting wins over Hamburg, at Manchester United and then recording a first victory in the Emirates Stadium against struggling Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Arsenal manager, however, will not be taking the challenge of the Portuguese champions and 2004 European Cup winners lightly.

Wenger insisted: 'We know we play against a big opponent in Porto, who always makes it very difficult.

'They have good technical level, with great experience in the Champions League.

'For us it is a big, big scalp tomorrow because they are always to difficult to beat.'

Arsenal are likely to come up against former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga tomorrow.

Spurs signed the Portugal international for £6.25million from Porto in June 2003 - but he was on his way back home just over a year later after failing to settle at White Hart Lane.

Wenger noted: 'Postiga is a good player - maybe Tottenham gave him up too early.

'He has shown ingredients of a very good player.'

The Arsenal boss added: 'Porto have a strong midfield and at the back, Pepe and [Bruno] Alves look technically very strong.

'They are buzzing down the flanks and have many dangerous positions.

'Under the new coach [Jesualdo Ferreira], they look a bit more cautious in their approach - but it does not mean they are less dangerous.'

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