Arsène Wenger hailed his Arsenal players for a performance of guts and resilience, as they felled Borussia Dortmund with an Aaron Ramsey sucker punch to fire their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Ramsey scored with a brave header on 62 minutes to give Arsenal a 1-0 win and their most eye-catching result of the season. They will travel to Manchester United on Sunday with their confidence high and the belief that they can now make a bold statement in the Premier League. They are already five points clear at the top and slowly they are chipping away at those who doubt their ability to compete at the very highest level.
"The message is that this strengthens the belief of my team that we can put in another great performance in another massive game on Sunday," Wenger, the manager, said. "We want this kind of performance again.
"We were united and focused, especially defensively. Dortmund put us under huge pressure and we kept possession but we were a bit sterile in the first half because we couldn't create chances. It was a question of being focused, intelligent and not to make the first mistake. We had to wait for the moment to create an opening but we did that.
"We had a difficult period at the start of the second half. But after we scored I felt we could have scored a second and we were less under pressure. Overall, it's a huge win. Look at Dortmund's home form in the Champions League [seven straight wins previously]. Not many teams achieved what we have just done. We showed huge solidarity to get through difficult moments of the game."
Arsenal have gone 15 matches in all competitions without an away defeat, with the sequence beginning in Germany last March with the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich, a result that did not prevent an away-goals exit from the Champions League last 16. There is the hope that this triumph over a well-fancied Dortmund team can have a similarly inspirational effect.
"Maybe this is a better result than Munich because there was more at stake," Wenger said. "People think Munich took it a bit easy because they had already beaten us 3-1 [in the first leg] and had qualified in their heads. "Tonight both teams had to win and we had even more at stake because we had lost to Dortmund at home. We needed a win. Even a draw would not have been enough.
"I always believed we looked more stable defensively because we have experience in midfield not to lose the ball in stupid positions. Dortmund are especially dangerous when you lose the ball and you need maturity to counter that. If we had a very young team tonight, you would be over-run and lose by a very high score. We won against a very good team. I have a lot of respect for Dortmund. This group is very strong and one of the big teams will have to pay a heavy price. I hope it won't be us. This was a huge result."
Jürgen Klopp, the Dortmund manager, felt his striker, Robert Lewandowski, could have had a penalty late in the second half for a pull by Per Mertesacker, although the appeal seemed optimistic and his emotions majored on regret.
"It was 50-50, wasn't it?" Klopp said. "But football is a game of results. They had their first attempt on goal in the 62nd minute and they scored. We had a lot of super moments but we were not precise enough. We had 11 shots before they scored and sometimes it was like they were defending with four legs.
"The positive news is that two wins and we will qualify. We didn't make the most of our chances. We didn't have the luck and we had a lot of bad luck. Can Arsenal win the Champions League? Yes. They are young, healthy and good technicians. They could go to the final and win it, as long as they don't play Bayern Munich."
Ramsey has now scored 11 goals this season and his improvement over the calendar year has been startling. "I was always positive with him," Wenger said. "This season he has the confidence and he has an unbelievable engine to get from box to box. His ability makes him a dangerous player."