Arsene Wenger proud of top-three finish with Arsenal

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits securing third place in the Barclays Premier League was probably his most satisfying achievement in a campaign when people thought he was "absolutely mad" for believing in the squad.

The Gunners finally made sure of qualification for the group stages of the Champions League for a 15th season when they beat West Brom 3-2 in a tense final day at The Hawthorns to edge ahead of rivals Tottenham by just a point.

It is a remarkable achievement in itself considering how far off the pace Arsenal were earlier in the campaign, having slumped as low as 17th after losing four from the opening seven league games.

Despite the disappointments of failing to deliver a trophy once again, Wenger never lost faith in his players.

"I maybe take the biggest ever [satisfaction] because at some stage of the season everybody would have said you were absolutely mad," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

"We still kept our focus and worked hard together.

"It is down to remarkable character and I am very proud of the achievement of the team."

Arsenal's resurgence following a run of nine wins out of 10 games from February 4 means they now do not have to sweat on the outcome of the Champions League final - which Chelsea will have to win to take the place of Spurs in next season's elite club competition.

"It is good to sleep better at night," Wenger said.

"It is a tricky position in fourth because you don't want Chelsea to win the Champions League, and to be fourth is playing a qualifier, which every year is more difficult.

"Therefore just to be in the group stage straight away is fantastic."

Top of Wenger's to-do list ahead of the European Championships is to sit down with captain Robin van Persie and discuss the future, with the Holland forward so far coy over his intentions.

Without Van Persie's 30 league goals, the Gunners would have been cut adrift, but it remains to be seen whether his extended lone appreciation in front of the travelling Arsenal fans at the end of yesterday's game was a last goodbye, the 28-year-old still with a season left on his current deal.

Whatever happens in 2012/13, winger Theo Walcott maintains Arsenal must believe in their ability to finally end their quest for silverware.

"It was tight, but we have deserved it [third place], for the past few weeks anyway," Walcott said.

"A couple of new additions may come, but we have to push on as it has been so long without a trophy now.

"We just need to start believing a bit more.

"The belief came in September that we really wanted it.

"If we can do that right from the start, keep people fit, then you never know where it will take us next year."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss