Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Wenger: Gunners over Van Persie loss

Robin van Persie left Arsenal to join Manchester United last summer

Arsene Wenger feels his Arsenal team have finally emerged from the shadow of Robin van Persie as they look to secure a place in the Champions League with victory at Newcastle on Sunday.

After a difficult start to the season, the Gunners have produced a superb run of form to haul themselves above rivals Tottenham in the top four and they could yet snatch third place from Chelsea should other results go their way. Wenger feels it is testament to the strength of character of a squad which was rebuilt around Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud following the departure of Van Persie to Manchester United.

"This team suffered for a very long time from a lack of confidence because you take the talisman away - Robin van Persie - and get the new players in, then you lose the first big games and suddenly we are faced with scepticism around the team. You could see that," the Arsenal manager said.

"That was the problem and balancing the team took a while, to find a formula to have a good balance in the team.

"Since this has been back, we have been very efficient.

"The Bayern Munich away game was very important, you could feel after that we could do it, that helped.

"I never felt this team lacked focus or desire to do well, but we lacked confidence for a while.

"The resources are there mentally and physically.

"We have played for a long time under pressure now, so let's just finish the job."

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