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'Strange' season baffles Wenger


Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes this has been the "strangest" season of his 16 years in English football.

Wenger has seen plenty of twists and turns since he arrived as a relatively unknown coach in 1996, from jostling with Manchester United for supremacy, through an "Invincibles" campaign to securing Champions League football on the final day at Highbury when rivals Tottenham were hit by a bug and lost at West Ham.

The French coach, though, feels for pure unpredictability, 2011-12 has certainly been one to remember. "It has been the strangest because there were changes throughout the season," said Wenger, whose side can finally secure third place with victory at West Brom.

"It looked first of all for us like we were battling relegation and then at the last game of the season we are battling for a Champions League position. Manchester City looked like they would cruise easy to the league and then suddenly they had lost it, and nobody understood quite why.

"After that, Manchester United looked like they had won it and we had all these things about when Man United are in the driving seat they do not give it away - suddenly they lose it again when Man City had basically given up, so it was a really strange season."

Wenger, however, maintains he never lost faith in what he was trying to achieve. "There is no worse situation as when you feel the players are not focused, not united or on board," he said. "I always felt during the season the team was united and ready to fight, so on a daily basis that is what you enjoy the most."

Wenger feels Arsenal will have reached their "basic target" should they secure Champions League football again. It has, though, been one of the most testing campaigns of the Frenchman's long tenure.

"Every day I discover something about myself - but it is not always enjoyable," the 62-year-old said.

"I always put a lot of pressure on myself, but maybe I was more under public pressure than before. Yet amazingly, I suffer more from my personal pressure. I think about my future every summer and this year will be the same - how we can improve? How we can change?"

Wenger, though, maintains the current crop of players have what it takes to compete at the top. "What was interesting this season was the mental quality of the group was one of the best I have seen," the Arsenal boss said.