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Premier League

Wenger says Tottenham merit Champions League place

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains Tottenham deserve their crack at the Champions League.

Spurs' victory away to Manchester City in midweek secured Harry Redknapp's men a place in the top four, and with it a chance to play in Europe's elite club competition for the fist time since 1962.

Indeed, should the Gunners - who have lost their last three away games, ending any title hopes - suffer a home defeat to Europa League finalists Fulham at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, then Spurs could yet sneak into third spot, and with it secure automatic entry into the group stages of the Champions League.

Wenger, though, feels the White Hart Lane side have earned their shot at the big time, having also recorded impressive victories over both Arsenal and Chelsea in recent weeks.

"Yes of course, Spurs are in the Champions League on merit, you are never there by coincidence," Wenger told Arsenal TV Online.

"They managed to beat us, to beat Chelsea, and also after a massive disappointment of losing the FA Cup semi-final.

"Straight away they had an opportunity to put it right against us and that brought up the level of confidence again, they have finished the season on a high.

"When you beat Arsenal, you beat Chelsea, you beat Manchester City, you deserve it."

Wenger feels in a way that Arsenal have become victims of their own success, with top-class European football now taken as a pre-requisite at Emirates Stadium.

"You could see when you look at our rivals, you know that everybody celebrates. We don't do that anymore because we have done it [qualified] for so many years that everybody finds it normal," Wenger said.

"It is not normal - it is the consequences of the quality performances during the season and it is not because we are Arsenal that we are guaranteed that."

Wenger, though, believes the Gunners should have already been secure of finishing in the top three.

"I am surprised, because I thought we would make the points before now," the Arsenal boss said. "But I knew that we had difficult games and that there could be something at stake.

"However, it is not too bad - it is good to have something at stake and we have an opportunity to go for third place.

"I know this match comes after a few disappointing results. Since we have gone out of the Champions League there was a little downer in our heads, but we have enough pride and quality to finish the season well and to secure the third place."

Wenger continued: "The concern is that at the moment we have many, many players out and as well that we just lost the games without any real logic.

"We lost at Wigan, we lost at Blackburn on controversial things which are difficult to accept - but we have to live with it and we have to secure the third place which will guarantee us the Champions League spot."