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Arsene Wenger not giving up hope of Champions League qualification


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side beat Sunderland

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side beat Sunderland

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side beat Sunderland

Arsene Wenger is "quite surprised" at the significance placed on finishing in the top four as Arsenal kept their slim hopes of a Champions League place alive.

An Alexis Sanchez brace helped the Gunners beat Sunderland 2-0 in front of a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium to take the battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League down to the last day of the campaign.

Arsenal must now rely on either Middlesbrough or West Ham to thwart Liverpool and Manchester City respectively to have any hope of qualifying for the Champions League, but the Frenchman does not believe his side need a minor miracle.

Wenger said: "No, you never know.

"But anyway, I answered for 20 years the question, 'the top four is nothing special'. So I don't know why suddenly it could become such a big problem.

"I'm quite surprised. I want to absolutely make sure that we are in there but after that let's get to 75 points and see what happens.

"You want all the teams to fight like Sunderland did tonight. After, you have to accept the result. What is for sure, if we win our game, we can only be far from one point. Let's give ourselves every chance."

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Despite being labelled title contenders at certain stages this season, Wenger conceded that away defeats against Everton and Manchester City were turning points in Arsenal's campaign.

But the boss says they must now look at the positives as the Gunners could still qualify for the Europa League with a higher points total than they had last season.

"I would say yes because in the two games we were leading 1-0 and we got caught in the second half," Wenger said of those damaging results.

"I think especially at Everton, we were really unlucky because some decisions were really bad on the night.

"After, we had to go straight to Man City and it didn't help. We can talk and talk, but at the end let's make 75 points. If you look at the number of points we can make, it's one of the best in the last 10 years."

Meanwhile, Sunderland manager David Moyes believes Wenger's comments on teams 'going on holiday' was an insult to football.

Earlier this week, in response to West Ham's performance during their 4-0 defeat to top-four rivals Liverpool, Wenger claimed that "some teams turn up, some go on holiday", but Moyes insists that is doing a disservice to clubs.

"I think that's an insult to football as I've been a player myself," Moyes said.

"I would hate it if anyone would question me if I was going to chuck a game away. We didn't play well on Saturday, we know that but I think you can see Sunderland had a go, tried to score at times but we were outclassed by a better football team.

"The teams have too much pride, the players have too much pride , every game matters, whatever team you support or whoever you play for, you play for the jersey, and would hope every player would do that.

"I thought the team showed great character, we set up to try and make it difficult for Arsenal and for long periods we did do but not only that but we created opportunities and the players worked really hard.

"If we got the first goal tonight maybe we would have got something to hold on to."

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