Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Barcelona are still favourites in their last 16 Champions League tie despite the Gunners’ 2-1 first-leg win.
But Wenger said that the result had given his players the belief to beat their rivals after coming from a goal down to take a lead into the second leg on 8 March.
“Barcelona are still favourites. We know now we can beat them, though. We didn’t know that last year,” he said.
“[The win] gives us a chance to go to Barcelona with belief.”
Arsenal showed the character and belief Wenger says they have now acquired and hit back after going behind to David Villa’s opener.
Robin van Persie beat Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes at his near post from before a rapid counter attack involving Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri ended with Andrey Arshavin steering in the winner.
“I am highly delighted. It was a special football night,” said Wenger.
“The game promised a lot and fulfilled that promise. It was two exceptional teams who tried always to be positive.
“I’m very proud because everybody urged us to play differently to our nature. We can be proud of the result, but more than pride it can strengthen the belief in our philosophy.
“Against Barcelona you are exposed many times when they have possession but we kept resilient and strong.
“The problem with their possession is that if you are a fraction late you are in trouble. You have to be tight with the marking and if you don’t it is difficult.
“We were prepared mentally to live with that. Usually we have the ball more than our opponents but we knew tonight that 60% of the time we would have to be focused on them.”
Although Barcelona dominated possession, they failed to make it count, and coach Pep Guardiola was philosophical afterwards.
“I think we were OK,” he said. “We have lost the first leg so we have to win the second leg.
“We controlled the play for most of the match but we know they can play very well positionally. They are very good and very fast when they counter-attack.
“If we analyse this result it is not too bad. I think in general I am happy with the performance. But we need to score goals in the second leg. They will attack and we will attack, too.”