Friday 19 January 2018

Wenger wants perfect run-in

Arsene Wenger's Gunners have won their last eight league matches
Arsene Wenger's Gunners have won their last eight league matches

Arsene Wenger challenged Arsenal to extend their winning run until the end of the season after a gutsy 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor.

Aaron Ramsey's 12th-minute goal gave the Gunners their eighth straight Barclays Premier League victory which leaves them four points behind leaders Chelsea, although Jose Mourinho's men have two games in hand.

Wenger said: "Nothing has changed - we need a perfect run and we need a non-perfect run from them but we can't master that, we can only master our own position.

"We want to keep winning because we have to look behind us as well at Manchester United and Manchester City.

"We are consistent and we have a good attitude in the team so it is a challenge for the team and we have to focus and win the next game."

Wenger was particularly pleased with the way his side coped with Burnley's physical threat and paid a rich tribute to the performance of Sean Dyche's men, who came close to salvaging a point through late chances for George Boyd and Danny Ings.

The Frenchman added: "I was surprised by the quality of Burnley and it will be a shame if they go down because they have done fantastically well.

"They are organised, they press well and they show great solidarity. They are very fit and I understand now why they took points from the big teams.

"You have to fight and be combative until the end and we couldn't score the second goal but the defence played very well today and got us the three points."

Dyche rued his own side's missed opportunities but remains convinced of their ability to beat the drop having emerged from a daunting run of fixtures against the top clubs relatively unscathed.

Dyche said: "We had our moments but you have got to take them and that's what we've found all season.

"You could see there was a belief in the side but you need moments of quality to win football matches. We have been really good lately at keeping the back door shut and apart from the goal I thought we defended really well."

The Clarets will go into next week's game at Everton an eminently retrievable two points off safety and Dyche believes his side's remaining fixtures constitute a very different challenge that they can exploit to their advantage.

Games against relegation rivals Leicester, Hull and Aston Villa are still to come and Dyche added: "Coming into this run of eight games (against the big clubs) people thought we might get nothing and were writing us off but we're here, we're willing and there's no lack of appetite.

"We think the team can perform and win games and with respect to the teams we're going to play now, they're not as strong and powerful.

"They are edgy games, awkward games against sides having awkward times, and there's a strength for us because we have less expectation from the media.

"We want to be effective enough to win them and I think we have to learn from everything we've done and package it all together and make it happen over the next six games."

Press Association

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