Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Sutton United produced an ‘astonishing’ performance during Monday night’s FA Cup tie.
The Gunners booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory at Gander Green Lane thanks to goals from Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott, but they were made to work hard for the victory by their National League opponents, who are 105 places below them in the English football pyramid.
Wenger was impressed by the quality of Sutton’s performance, admitting that teams from the fifth tier have vastly improved over recent years.
Asked if it was a case of ‘job done’ for his side, Wenger said: “Yes, against a side that was astonishing.
They are basically in division five and they are 17th out of 24. [I was surprised] by the speed of their game.
“The fact they never stopped going until the end and, compared to 20 years ago, these teams are fit now and can play at the pace of the Premier League.”
The Frenchman also praised his own players for producing a professional display.
He added: “If we had come here in a relaxed mood we would have gone out tonight, because they produced quality.”
Arsenal will face National League opponents once again in the quarter-finals when they will host Lincoln at the Emirates Stadium next month.
The Gunners, who last won the FA Cup in 2015, are 3.75 to lift the trophy again this season.