Premier League

Almunia proud of team-mates

Gunners keeper hails character and maturity

Almunia: Proud of team-mates

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Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia is proud of his team-mates following their penalty shoot-out success over Roma.

The Gunners booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday with a thrilling 7-6 shoot-out success at Stadio Olimpico.

Arsenal's display was largely one to forget after Roma forced extra-time thanks to Juan's 10th minute effort, but it was the visitors who progressed after Max Tonetto's skied his spot-kick.

Almunia saved Mirko Vucinic's effort to force sudden death and the Spanish shot-stopper believes Arsene Wenger's youngsters have now come of age.

So proud

"I am so proud of my team-mates because they showed a lot of character and maturity on the pitch," said Almunia.

"We have players who are very young and proved they have a great future ahead of them.

"We didn't have fear in the penalty shoot-out, being a young team we stood our ground. We faced adversity as men."

Almunia admitted that his team were finally able to answer those critics that had questioned Wenger's reliance on youth over experience.

"We are young but we are a strong team," said Almunia. "Everyone is counting on Wenger to bring through these young talents.

"The merit of this success is also down to the club, who have given Wenger time and patience to carry out his project.

"Finally, we get some joy this season."