Fighting for Champions League qualification not enough says Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
The Frenchman wants to see his side challenging for the title
Monday 13 May 2013
Arsene Wenger is not content with merely scrapping for Champions League qualification and has demanded more from his team next season.
The Gunners host FA Cup winners Wigan at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow night looking to move back above Tottenham into fourth place as the race for elite European football is set to go to the wire.
Wenger's squad have long fallen short in the quest to launch a sustained assault on the Barclays Premier League title, but the Arsenal boss insists that must change in the 2013-14 campaign.
"Last year we made 70 points and finished third. This year, we can make 73 points and finish fourth, so what you want to do is have a consistency and fight for the Premier League," he said.
"It (finishing fourth) is the minimum required. You could see that when Chelsea's Champions League position was under threat, they came out quickly and said 'no, what is most important for us is to be in the Champions League next year'.
"It is difficult to achieve, but we have done it over the years. Is it enough? No. We want more, but this year, Manchester United was above everybody else."
Wenger is set to be handed a bumper £100million summer transfer budget to strengthen the squad, with £20million-rated Montenegro striker Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina said to be high on his shopping list.
The Arsenal manager added: "We have rebuilt the team and since January we have certainly done very well if you look at the number of points we have taken compared to the other teams.
"We have created a good basis and that stability can help us start strongly next season."
With Sir Alex Ferguson retiring, Wenger will become the longest-serving manager in the country after taking charge at the Gunners in 1996, but has yet to commit his long-term future past the end of next season.
The French coach, 63, has seen rival clubs deliver more silverware under a succession of different managers.
He said: "You get sometimes that feeling, that because of the money thrown at the club, the impatience is there and the drive for success and demand for success is much higher.
"It is because these people want to be rewarded quickly and that could explain why the instability is higher."
Wenger admits he is unsure how Wigan's battling FA Cup win at Wembley will impact on their performance tomorrow night in a match Roberto Martinez's men must win to keep alive realistic hopes of staying up.
However, the Arsenal manager wants his team fully focused on delivering the required result themselves.
"Wigan had a contrasting week because they were on a low against Swansea when they lost at home, a game that of course was a massive game for them, but you could see on Saturday they have quality and they played a remarkable game when they played against Man City," he said.
"What kind of team will we face? We don't know. We know just one thing - we want to be at our best in a game of that importance.
"We are on a remarkable run, we have been hugely consistent and we are in a position where our destiny depends on us and we want to finish the job."
Arsenal looked out of contention for the Champions League places when losing at Tottenham in March.
However, Wenger's side have put themselves back in the driving seat with six league wins in eight since, and could yet catch Chelsea in third place should results go their way.
"Two months ago we had no chance to be where we are today so we can only be happy with what we have done," he said.
"We have a clear target - to win our remaining games."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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