Almunia delight at cup exploits
By Francisco Acedo
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Manuel Almunia has spoken of his delight following Arsenal's cup progression.Manuel Almunia has spoken of both his relief and delight following Arsenal's elimination of Sheffield United in the FA Cup.
Arsenal needed penalties to dispatch their Championship counterparts, with Almunia proving the hero following two shoot-out saves.
Arsene Wenger had a squad shorn of several of his top names, with Almunia keen to point out the achievement of winning whilst understrength.
''It was a very good night, the best because we had people missing,'' said Almunia.
''If a team from lower down beats Arsenal it would be a catastrophe. But it was not an easy match.
''We were without nine top players.''
Alumina, who replaced Jens Lehmann in Arsenal's starting eleven, proved an astute penalty stopper - a fact he attributes to psychology.
''The penalties are very much psychological,'' he continued.
''The key is to save the first as mentally, this affects the opposition.
''My companions were excellent in the penalties. To score four out of four is sensational.''
The struggle between Almunia and Lehmann to win Wenger's faith has been a feature of Arsenal's season, but the Spanish custodian refuses to be drawn on his German colleague.
He concluded: ''I do not know the reaction of Lehmann.
''On the bench is Taylor, but the most important thing is the team.
''Personally, I never criticise my team-mates in the newspapers. Always it is negative.
''That is not my style - not in England or Spain.
''The rumours about Arsenal and goalkeepers is normal. I am in a great team that needs reinforcements in all areas.''