Arsenal v Fenerbahce: Arsene Wenger demands Arsenal play with 'full power' in Champions League play-off
The Gunners hold a 3-0 advantage from the first leg
Tuesday 27 August 2013
Arsene Wenger has told his Arsenal players to play at full throttle in Tuesday night's Champions League qualifying second leg clash with Fenerbahce to secure a place in the group stages for a 16th successive season.
The Gunners beat Fenerbahce 3-0 in Istanbul last week, but a cautious Wenger intends to send out a full-strength side to complete qualification.
"It's a very, very important tie for us, because we want to be in the group stage the next day," Wenger said.
"If you want to knock somebody out you need attitude and commitment or you don't do it.
"That demands attitude and commitment and desire to play the game with full power, like we love to do it.
"We want to finish the job. We have a decent advantage, but we want to get over the line."
It will be the Gunners' first return to the Emirates Stadium since a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season which provoked the fans' ire.
Supporters expressed frustration over Arsenal's perceived dithering in the transfer market which has seen them miss out on significant signings.
"I still am optimistic and I hope I will not disappoint you," said Wenger, who believes the transfer window should close before the season starts, but recognises Arsenal's need to augment the squad.
"We have not a fixed number (of signings in mind). I just think we are a bit short at the moment.
"I'm guided by my conscience to do as well as I can for this club and by the vision of the game I want to play.
"I feel with the players I have I can play the football we want to play. I'm a great admirer of the spirit, the attitude of these players.
"They are special and if I want to add something it has to be special."
One player in that bracket is Jack Wilshere, who will return to the starting line-up against Fenerbahce, even though the north London derby with Tottenham takes place on Sunday.
Wenger will continue to employ caution in his use of Wilshere, who has overcome a succession of long-standing ankle injuries and dropped to the bench for the win at Fulham.
"I don't want to make a mistake on the medical front and overuse him because the ankle is the most important part of a football player," Wenger said.
"I would be a bit more cautious (than with another player), until we feel he is completely free from any risk."
Provided Wilshere comes through unscathed against Fenerbahce and Tottenham, he will go on international duty with England, who meet Moldova on Friday, September 6 and Ukraine the following Tuesday.
Wenger is aware of Wilshere's importance to England, whose manager Roy Hodgson announces his squad for the World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.
Smiling, Wenger said: "(The Ukraine fixture is) the key. So don't play him against Moldova."
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