Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Wenger ready for Barca

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes a strong performance on Saturday against the bottom team in the Barclays Premier League was important for Arsenal's preparations to face the top team in the world.

Wolves and Barcelona could hardly offer more different challenges, with the former propping up the rest of the league after a 2-0 Gunners win that did little to accurately portray the gulf between the sides. Wednesday's Champions League opponents Barca, on the other hand, are rated by Wenger as the best club side around.

"We had to stay focused, it was important to win," Wenger said.

"We play certainly the best team in the world next so it is important to go in strong psychologically, with confidence and in a strong position in the league.

"We are in the Premier League race, we believe we can do it and we have the hunger. We must focus on every single game and it was important they showed me they can focus and not have Barcelona on their mind.

"We created a lot of chances and my only regret is that we did not score more goals."

Wenger thinks his side learned important lessons last season when they were knocked out of Europe in the quarter-finals by Barca.

They drew 2-2 in London before a 4-1 defeat at the Nou Camp sealed their fate and this time Wenger believes it can be different.

"When you play a team like Barcelona you need all 11 to be at their best. For us it is important we play with belief," he continued.

"What we have learned from last season is in the first half we gave them too much respect, we were lucky to get away with that (in the home leg). We are not favourites in this game but I think we can do it."

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