Belfast Telegraph

Wenger not content with third

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal cannot be content with third place in the Barclays Premier League and urged his squad to finish a testing campaign on a high.

The Gunners host Chelsea on Saturday aiming to recover quickly from a lacklustre 2-1 home defeat by Wigan on Monday night and keep themselves on track for automatic Champions League qualification.

Wenger said: "We want more, but where we are at the moment we will be happy with third place because there are great teams who would be very happy if they got there. You always want more, but you see that the competition in England is difficult - Chelsea are now in the Champions League [semi-final] against Barcelona, but they are sixth at the moment, that means it is not easy."

Arsenal hold a five-point lead over rivals Tottenham and Newcastle heading into this weekend's fixtures, while they are seven in front of the Blues, but having played a match more.

Just to be in this position is something of an achievement within itself, considering Arsenal's appalling start to the domestic campaign which saw them lose four from the first seven games and slip down as low as 17th.

Wenger said: "We want to win our next game and that is the only way we can secure our [Champions League] qualification. We have done remarkably well in the last two months and we want to take advantage of that run we have created and show that tomorrow."

Arsenal have won nine in the last 11 Premier League games to force themselves back into the top four. Wenger feels ending the campaign with a similar run of form can only boost confidence for the challenges ahead in 2012/2013.

"We feel that as a team we have improved during the season and it is important now to finish in a strong way. That gives us confidence to do well at the start of next season," he said.

Chelsea beat Barcelona 1-0 on Wednesday night to take a slender lead into next week's second leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp.

Wenger warned it would be a "massive mistake" to think the Blues will be distracted by their European exploits. "We want to focus on our performance, let's not expect any lack of focus from Chelsea," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph