Arsene Wenger targets five wins in final five Premier League games after Arsenal 'release a little bit of pressure' in FA Cup semi-final
The Gunners boss hopes victory over Wigan can propel his team to a strong finish in the Premier League
Monday 14 April 2014
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his side to build on their FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out triumph by winning all of their remaining five Barclays Premier League matches to secure a top-four finish.
The Gunners will host West Ham on Tuesday night looking to move themselves back above Everton following what was a nerve-shredding encounter with Wigan at Wembley, where they were just seven minutes from what would have been a catastrophic defeat for Wenger's beleaguered squad.
Wenger, though, insists all thoughts of the return trip to the national stadium on May 17 must now be put aside to secure another shot at elite European football again next season.
"When you are in a semi-final and you win, it releases a little bit of pressure on the team on that front, but we want to bounce back in the Premier League," said Wenger, who has several players carrying minor fitness problems ahead of Tuesday night.
"Therefore we want to finish strong, we have a battle with Everton and of course it's now down to consistency in our final games.
"It (five victories) is the target. Do you need it? Nobody knows, but the target is of course to win every game."
Wenger added: "We just want to not imagine the consequences of not doing it, what you want is just to focus on doing it.
"That is where we have the focus, the quality of the spirit, we have the desire and we are slowly getting our players back, so the squad is not (so) depleted any more.
"I believe that they (Everton) have difficult games and we have difficult games, but we want to focus now on what we know we can do.
"We have a more complete squad and we want to win our games, no matter what Everton does. We want to finish in a strong way.
"We can finish the season well - we can finish in the top four, we can win the FA Cup - so it's down to how united we will be until the end of the season, and focused together."
Arsenal have several players in the treatment room, while England international Jack Wilshere is set to step-up his rehabilitation from a hairline foot fracture.
Wenger said: "Jack Wilshere should start to jog this week. It is all going well, but we have to monitor him now day by day.
"I think the next three weeks will be very important for him."
Asked if he remained confident Wilshere would play again this season, Wenger said: "Yes."
Striker Olivier Giroud injected some fresh life into the Arsenal attack when brought on alongside Yaya Sanogo in the second half at Wembley.
Wenger insists the France international, who saw his personal life come under scrutiny earlier this year, remains central to the side.
"He has a fantastic spirit, Olivier Giroud is a fantastic team player. He has gone through a little bit more of a difficult period, but that happens to any striker," said Wenger.
"The striker is the most demanding position, he has played many, many games - more games than any other striker in the Premier League."
Wenger accepts Arsenal will have to stop the supply line to England World Cup hopeful Andy Carroll on Tuesday.
"Once the ball is up there, you do not find many people who can compete with him and win the challenge, so what is important is that we stop the balls going to him," said Wenger.
"Of that quality, in the air, there are not many (better), I don't think so."
Wenger added: "West Ham are in a comfortable position, that means they can play without fear. So we know that in these kind of games it's very important that we have a good focus and a good tempo in our game."
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