Arsene Wenger believes that his Arsenal side have made significant progress this season, even though the club's run without a trophy has now been extended to five seasons. Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Wigan Athletic has left Wenger with no hope of claiming the Premier League title and the Frenchman is left having to explain to fans why the club has not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005.
In an interview with the club magazine, Wenger outlined his analysis of the season, in which he claimed the club have made ground on Manchester United and Chelsea. "I feel we have made huge steps forward this year compared to last year and the year before that," Wenger said.
"We are not far away. We were fighting for the Championship and missed the key moments against Barcelona to knock them out of the Champions League quarter-final. I know we have to answer the demands of the people. But this year I feel we have appeased our fans a lot. We have always shown a great attitude, a great response when needed.
"We have convinced people that we are making progress. At the start of the season we were being written off, so we have improved."
Wenger explained that Arsenal's defeat to Barça has proven to him that his side have the ability but just lack greater confidence. "What we are looking for is to win a trophy," Wenger added, "and when this team does that, you will see a different side. We are in the hunt, under pressure but without winning it yet.
"But we are capable of doing it. For me, Barcelona is still a better team than us – I don't deny that – but as well part of the reason they are better than us is because they have won trophies in the past. Once this Arsenal team has won something, you will see them as different animals."
Wenger also defended himself for not buying more experienced players but said he might look to buy some cast-offs from Real Madrid this summer. "Real bought some big players but it was surprising that they got rid of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben. Maybe it's worth waiting outside their stadium and seeing what players they let go next summer."