Wenger hopes to build on his Arsenal legacy

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The past is immaterial to Arsène Wenger with Arsenal's longest-serving manager happier to concentrate on the next match rather than reflect upon past glories as he marks 13 years in charge of the London club.

Wenger began his reign as Arsenal manager with a win at Blackburn Rovers in October 1996 and his team face the same opponents at home tomorrow. ''You know, that first game, it was quite funny because it was my first experience,'' Arsenal's most successful manager said yesterday.

''We started well at Blackburn and now Sunday is a good opportunity to continue our good run, to come back in the league because we have a game in hand. We have played away four times at difficult places and we are in a strong position now, so let's take advantage of that. That is all much more important than history.''

Wenger did say he had regrets, notably a frustrating failure, so far, to win the European Cup. ''Yes that is one thing,'' the Frenchman said, ''and it is a big ambition. But there is a consideration. When I came here Arsenal was not even seeded as one of the big clubs in Europe, but now we are in the top eight. We have gone close, very close. We are on a high competitive level now with the best clubs in Europe and we just need to go one step further.''