Arsene Wenger says he always had faith that Arsenal would qualify for the UEFA Champions League after a 1-0 win at Newcastle United secured fourth spot.
Laurent Koscielny's second-half volley clinched the required win for Arsenal to render Tottenham Hotspur's victory by the same scoreline over Sunderland immaterial.
Earlier in the season, the Gunners trailed Tottenham and Everton in the race for fourth, but Wenger was always confident his team could reel in their rivals.
"I'm proud of the character and the spirit, especially with all we had to deal with during the season," Wenger told Sky Sports.
"The players are special. I've told them many times and they've shown it. In the last two months they have been absolutely exceptional.
"It's a good basis, as well, on a longer term to go into next season on such a strong run.
"I'm very proud. We were very far behind Tottenham and even after defeat there (at White Hart Lane) we've shown character and attitude to come back and make 73 ...