Norwich v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger readies himself for final flourish as questions still linger over his own Arsenal future
Wenger is yet to extend his contract beyond the end of the season and could be leading the Gunners for the penultimate time at Carrow Road
Sunday 11 May 2014
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has no fears his team will "fall apart" if they fail to win the FA Cup.
The Gunners head to Norwich, who are all but relegated, for Sunday's final match of the Barclays Premier League season with the pressure off having already secured fourth place ahead of Everton.
However, the Wembley date with Hull on May 17 means no-one at the club can take a summer holiday just yet.
Over the coming days, focus will all inevitably be centred around Arsenal's quest to finally end almost a decade without a trophy and avoid another shock defeat as hot favourites which they suffered against Birmingham in the 2011 League Cup final.
Wenger, however, insists he will not be looking to add to the hysteria.
"No matter what happens, the team will not fall apart. It will still be a team the next day, but we want to do it because we fought very hard to get there," he said.
"Of course it (the chance of winning a trophy) has a big meaning to us.
"We had to go through Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool, penalties in the semi-final (against Wigan), so we want to finish the job now."
Wenger is confident his squad have the needed mentality to deliver, having done so in their crucial Champions League qualifier right at the start of the campaign, when the club looked to be on the brink following defeat in the opening Premier League match at Emirates Stadium.
"When you play at Fenerbahce after having lost against Aston Villa, there is a massive pressure - you play the game of the season having lost at home with a revolution behind you," he said.
"We have played many games with pressure. When you play against Liverpool in the FA Cup, the pressure is the same.
"In the final, it is just a football game where you want to turn up and put the effort in."
Wenger feels his squad certainly did that over the course of the Premier League campaign, but one which ultimately ended in disappointment having led the table right up until February.
His future at Arsenal has yet to be clarified, with his contract up at the end of the season. But reports linking him to the coach's job at Monaco, his former club, have been dismissed by sources at Arsenal.
"Last year it was an achievement to get in the top four because we needed to win the last 10 games, this season we were in a strong position and we lost our strong position, so we are a bit more frustrated, but we were close," he said.
"We do not get something for that (Champions League qualification), but it is a difficult achievement. Why? Because if you look across Europe in the major leagues, only one other club has done it in the last 18 years with us, Bayern Munich.
"If it was as easy as that, why do the others not to do it? Everybody wants to be in there.
"Once we were under threat to lose out of the top four, people start to ask me 'would you prefer to be in the top four or win the FA Cup?'
"If it is not important, why do people make such a case of it? Because everybody wants to play in the Champions League.
"My answer was always that I want to do both."
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