Szczesny on Juventus' win: 'Where others crumble, we manage to get out on top'
LONDON -- Wojciech Szczesny hailed Juventus' experience and winning mentality after Wednesday's Champions League win against his old enemy Tottenham, and gloated: "Where others crumble, we get out on top."
Szczesny, the former Arsenal goalkeeper, was an unused substitute as Juve beat Spurs 2-1 at Wembley to progress to the quarterfinal with a 3-2 win on aggregate.
Spurs dominated the first leg after Juve had taken a 2-0 lead inside nine minutes and they again outplayed last season's finalists at home, only to be undone in a five-minute spell in the second half when Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala scored.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino blamed bad luck and poor finishing on his side's defeat, saying they were "much better" than Juventus over two legs.
And Szczesny responded: "Probably the Tottenham people would say that but we believe we deserved it. We sat through the difficult situations in the first half, managed not to concede more goals, stayed in the game over the 90 minutes and when we felt the right moment we took advantage of it.
"The only thing that makes a difference in football is who can score more goals and we were on top.
"We've been through it many times before. Even at the weekend [against Lazio], we didn't play the best of games and yet we stayed in it and in the 93rd minute we scored the winner so that sort of belief right until the end gets you through games like this.
"You need show it on the pitch," the Poland international added. "We've got players who have won the World Cup, they've won six championships in a row and you see that makes a difference in the difficult situations.
"Where others crumble, we manage to get out on top. Especially when you consider that we were in difficult situations throughout the two legs and yet we managed to come out on top, it shows you the great character and spirit of the team and I believe that made it a difference.
"You need to believe in yourself, we're not here by accident, this club has won so much in the past, it didn't just happen overnight, they've shown it for many, many years and I'm so happy the lads showed it again."
Szczesny spent eight seasons at Arsenal, making over 180 appearances for Spurs' north London rivals, but he said it would not be "appropriate" to comment on his former club's struggles to qualify for the Champions League again, or Arsene Wenger's uncertain future. He did, however, admit that Wednesday's victory was all the sweeter given the opposition and the venue.
"I enjoyed it more as a Juventus man [than as an Arsenal man] because it was an important win. There's special emotions when you come to Wembley, I've not been here for such a long time so I really enjoyed it.
"There was a couple of fans, very vocal next to my bench who went missing after the 80th minute so, yeah, I enjoyed it plus winning at Wembley is always special.
"I still love Arsenal, I love the club, I love the people and I wish them the best but to judge their situation is not appropriate."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.