• FA Cup

Wenger: I sacrifice every day to win trophies

ESPN staff
April 11, 2014
Arsenal's quest for silverware continues

Arsene Wenger insists he "sacrifices every day" to try and end Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought.

Arsenal face an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan at Wembley on Saturday, with their last piece of silverware coming in the same competition in 2005.

Wenger heads into match under considerable pressure, as his side's latest title challenge has crumbled in disappointing fashion in recent weeks with the Arsenal manager blaming a spate of injuries.

While Wenger has previously suggested a top-four finish in the Premier League is a bigger target for him than domestic cup success, he has changed that tune a little ahead of Saturday's match with FA Cup holders Wigan.

Should Wenger take the blame?

Arsene Wenger has had many head-scratching moments this season © Getty Images
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"Don't imagine I sacrifice every day of my life not to win a trophy. Everybody fights for that," Wenger told reporters at Arsenal's London Colney training base.

"We are back at Wembley and it is great. The FA Cup is an important competition. You know we will not fight for the championship anymore, so it is the only competition. We are motivated to do well in it."

That last trophy success came against Manchester United at the Millennium Stadium in 2005, when Sir Alex Ferguson's side lost on penalties having dominated the match as Arsenal, in the absence of striker Thierry Henry, defended in numbers.

"In 2005, we did not deserve to win the final," Wenger admitted. "It was the only way we could win it. At the start I didn't set up like that and suddenly they were all over us and I realised that physically we were not able to compete, so I said, 'Okay, let's defend as long as we can.'"

Wenger has been criticised of lacking a 'plan B' at times this season in the games against his title rivals, with Arsenal suffering heavy defeats at Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Yet he insists he resisted the temptation to replicate Arsenal's performance from that afternoon in Wales, admitting he thought his side were strong enough at the back to cope.

"I was not really [tempted to do that this season]," says Wenger. "Maybe sometimes we have not had much of a choice but this season we have always tried to attack because we have a team that has that ability.

"What has been strange this season is that for a long time we looked very strong defensively, we had an outstanding defensive record, and we lost it suddenly. That's the surprise of the season for me."

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