Wenger bemoans 'tough' draw

December 15, 2006

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal have not been granted an easy draw, against PSV Eindhoven in the last 16 of the Champions League.

While Liverpool were paired with defending champions Barcelona and Celtic must take on Italian giants AC Milan, both Manchester United - who will play Lille - and the Gunners seem to have been handed a favourable tie.

'The draw was not kind and not unkind,' Wenger told reporters this afternoon.

'PSV have experience of this level. They dominate Dutch football and every year now they are in the last 16, quarter-final, semi-final even of the Champions League against Milan.

'So it is a tough draw.'

After qualifying as group winners, Arsenal will play the second leg at home on March 7.

Wenger added: 'Our results have been good, and we have a little advantage with our first game over there. It is like a game of 180 minutes, where the first 90 decide the rest.'

Arsenal made it to the final of the 2005/06 Champions League, and there could well be more British interest in the latter stages of this season`s competition.

Wenger believes the statistics speak for the quality of the Barclays Premiership.

He said: 'You have five British teams in the last 16 of the Champions League - that would not have happened 10 years ago and that means the game has moved forward.'

Wenger firmly believes Liverpool have a good chance against Barcelona, who are currently missing influential Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o because of a knee injury.

However, the French coach believes Lille will be no 'easy target' for United, winners of the Champions League in 1999.

'Lille deserve more credit than people give them,' said Wenger.

'They will not be an easy team. Their manager [Claude Puel] is one of my former players and he is a very resilient guy.

'He will get his team to fight. They are not an easy target.'