The Frenchman believes his team's fightback salvaged some pride after a farcical first-half display, and insists he never lost faith in their chances of turning the match around
The Gunners fought back from 4-0 down to force extra time and eventually triumph 7-5 at the Madejski Stadium after a truly remarkable contest defined by irresistible attacking and inept defending.
At the club's annual general meeting last week the Frenchman ranked the Capital One Cup fifth in his list of priorities, but after the match he admitted that to go out in such a manner would have been humiliating.
|Walcott & Arsenal must use Reading victory as the springboard to success|
"It was not one of our priorities but had we gone out the way we could have gone out, it would not have been one of my proudest moments," the Frenchman told reporters.
"We went from disaster to giving ourselves at least some pride, because we came back with a decent performance.
"We had only hope that we would go through, but at least we got our first-half disasters out of our system.
"I felt for our fans because even at 4-0, they stayed behind the team. I would like to give them credit, and I’m happy that we paid them back in the second half.
"Once it was 4-4 I felt we would win the game, because Reading had given a lot, and were mentally down. We looked quite comfortable in extra time."
Wenger knows first-hand the pain of losing a four-goal lead, having been pegged back to a 4-4 draw by Newcastle in February last year, and expressed his sympathy for Reading boss Brian McDermott.
"They had a fantastic start, and I know what it is to be pulled back when you’re 4-0 up," he continued. "Reading should take credit from that performance, and maybe not be too disappointed.
|ON A ROLL?
|14/1||Arsenal are 14/1 to beat Manchester United 1-0 with William Hill|
"At 4-0, you think you have won the game. At 4-1, you still think you have won the game. At 4-2, you suddenly realise it isn’t over, and then the panic kicks in.
"It doesn’t matter how good a player you are, when that happens, it goes right through the team."