Arsene Wenger was full of praise for Preston North End after they gave his Arsenal side a fright in the third round of the FA Cup.
Callum Robinson gave PNE a seventh minute lead with Aaron Ramsey levelling things up just 50 seconds into the second half.
All signs pointed to a replay at the Emirates Stadium but Olivier Giroud’s deflected strike in the 89th minute broke Preston hearts.
“I would like to congratulate Preston on the quality of their game,” said Wenger.
“Especially in the first half we were out-paced and they played with desire, enthusiasm, quality and they gave us many problems.
“Their organisation, the speed of their transition when they won the ball was very good.
“Every time we were in trouble and overall they played in a very intelligent way.
“They are a good side and honestly I was really impressed by them today.”
Wenger was pleased with his side’s resolve as they improved in the second half to deny PNE a deserved second shot at the Gunners.
“There was full commitment for the 90 minutes and it was a good cup tie,” said the Frenchman.
“We needed to dig deep to win the game today.
“Second half it was all us but they defended well and we needed to continue to be patient.”