Arsène Wenger: I can adjust tactics... if I have to
Arsène Wenger has admitted the last time he sent an Arsenal team out on the defensive they lifted a trophy.
Arsenal have not won any silverware since the 2005 FA Cup and are looking to end that drought in this year's competition.
Wenger's team face Wigan in the semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday after falling away in the Premier League title race.
Heavy defeats away at Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton have left Arsenal fighting to hold on to fourth place and qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal were hit for six at Chelsea and Manchester City, let in five goals at Anfield and were beaten 3-0 by Everton. During each game, the Gunners conceded at least once during the opening 20 minutes.
Those results have left Arsenal players questioning the lack of work they do on the opposition. Wenger will not change his approach against Championship Wigan, but revealed employing defensive tactics inspired the club's last trophy success.
Arsenal managed to hold out for a goalless draw against Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final, before winning on penalties.
"We did not deserve to win, it was the only way we could win it," said Wenger. "At the start, I didn't set up like that and suddenly Manchester United were all over us and I realised that physically we were not able to compete, so I said, ‘OK let's defend as long as we can'."
Asked whether he had been tempted to change to a more defensive style at times this season, Wenger replied: "Not really, we have always tried to attack because we have a team that has that ability.
"What has been strange this season is that for a long time we looked very strong defensively, we had an outstanding defensive record, and we lost it suddenly. That's the surprise of the season for me."
On his team's bad starts to big games, Wenger added: "We know the start of the game is important and the way you respond is linked with the way you start. When you don't start strong you always put yourself in a dangerous situation."
Wenger is yet to sign a new contract to remain as Arsenal manager and defeats in key games has increased the uncertainty regarding his future.
But the Frenchman claims the final games of the season, in the FA Cup and Premier League, will not decide his fate.
Wenger refused to discuss his contract situation, but, directly asked whether results would determine whether or not he signs a new deal, the 64-year-old said: "None. I don't want to talk about that today."
Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for 16 successive years, but Wenger will not choose between fourth place and winning the FA Cup.
"The Champions League was vital for us with survival at the top until now and it was the minimal requirement at the start of the season. But don't imagine I sacrifice every day of my life not to win a trophy. Everybody fights for that.
"We all play to win something. If you are in the FA Cup everyone can dream of winning it at the start of the season. The league - only seven clubs can dream of winning it at the start of the season.
"It is a dream open to everybody and that is the beauty of the FA Cup. Last year Wigan won it, this year you have Sheffield United in the semi-final and that kind of dream, open to everybody, makes the competition special.
"It was a dream when I was a kid to watch the FA Cup. It was one of the competitions you could watch in black and white on television.
"What stays in my memory is exactly the place where I sat at school, because we had to pay one franc to watch the final.
"What struck me at the time was the ball was white and the pitch was perfect, because I played in a village where the pitch was a disaster."