Friday 20 April 2018

Wenger wants more from Gunners

Arsene Wenger wants to challenge for the Premier League title again
Arsene Wenger wants to challenge for the Premier League title again

Arsene Wenger is not content with merely scrapping for Champions League qualification and has demanded more from his team next season.

The Gunners host FA Cup winners Wigan at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night looking to move back above Tottenham into fourth place as the race for elite European football is set to go to the wire.

Wenger's squad have long fallen short in the quest to launch a sustained assault on the Barclays Premier League title. But the Arsenal boss insists that must change, saying: "Last year we made 70 points and finished third. This year, we can make 73 points and finish fourth, so what you want to do is have a consistency and fight for the Premier League."

The Frenchman added: "It (finishing fourth) is the minimum required. You could see that when Chelsea's Champions League position was under threat, they came out quickly and said 'no, what is most important for us is to be in the Champions League next year'. It is difficult to achieve, but we have done it over the years. Is it enough? No. We want more, but this year, Manchester United was above everybody else."

With Sir Alex Ferguson retiring, Wenger will become the longest-serving manager in the country after taking charge at the Gunners in 1996, but has yet to commit his long-term future past the end of next season. The French coach, 63, has seen rival clubs deliver more silverware under a succession of different managers.

He said: "You get sometimes that feeling, that because of the money thrown at the club, the impatience is there and the drive for success and demand for success is much higher. It is because these people want to be rewarded quickly and that could explain why the instability is higher."

Wenger admits he is unsure how Wigan's battling FA Cup final win at Wembley will impact on their performance on Tuesday night in a match Roberto Martinez's men must win to keep alive realistic hopes of staying up. However, the Arsenal manager wants his team fully focused on delivering the required result themselves.

"What kind of team will we face? We don't know," he said. "We know just one thing - we want to be at our best in a game of that importance. We are on a remarkable run, we have been hugely consistent and we are in a position where our destiny depends on us and we want to finish the job.''

Arsenal looked out of contention for the Champions League places when losing at Tottenham in March. However, Wenger's side have put themselves back in the driving seat with six league wins in eight since, and could yet catch Chelsea in third place should results go their way.

"Two months ago we had no chance to be where we are today so we can only be happy with what we have done,'' he said. "We have a clear target - to win our remaining games.''

Press Association

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