- FA Cup
Wenger: Future does not depend on FA Cup
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted his future and that of this current Gunners team does not depend on success in next Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull.
Wenger has again highlighted his side's success in securing a top four finish as being just as significant as a trophy success, as he pointed out that Arsenal and Bayern Munich are the only two teams in European football to secure top-four finishes in their domestic leagues for the past 18 seasons.
"Whatever happens at Wembley, this team will not fall apart," stated Wenger, who confirmed he would not consider signing a new contract with Arsenal until after next weekend's Wembley final.
"So we cannot say this FA Cup final is everything for us, but we want to win it. We have worked so hard to get there and we want to finish it off.
"We are under pressure to do it and of course, it would have a big meaning for us to win a trophy because a lot of these players have not won a medal in their career. We had to fight hard to get here. We got through Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and penalties against Wigan in the semi-final. It would be good to finish the job now.
"I have been lucky enough to win the FA Cup four times, but unfortunately we haven't won it for a long time now, so I'm even more focused to do well in this competition now.
"However, I do not aplogise for saying qualifying for the Champions League is a difficult achievement. We do not get a trophy for fourth place, I agree, but if you look across Europe, only one club has done it in all the major leagues (finish in top four).
"If it was as easy as that, why should the others not do it? We are the only team along with Bayern Munich who have secured top four finishes for the last 18 successive years, so it's not easy."
Wenger went on to insist he is not concerned that his team will crumble under the pressure of trying to end Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought at Wembley next weekend, as he is convinced they have the mental strength to handle the expectations.
"We have played a lot of high pressure games this season and that was from the start of this season and the first of those came after we lost our first game of the season at home against Aston Villa," he reflected of their 3-1 opening day defeat.
"A few days later, we had to go to Turkey to play Fenerbahce in the game of the season to qualify for the Champions League last August. A revolution was taking place after the Villa game back home, but we got the result.
"We have played many games with pressure. When you play Liverpool in the FA Cup a week after they beat you 5-1, there is big pressure.
"In this final, we cannot think about the meaning. Treat it as another game, just turn up and put the effort in. This team has shown it is capable of dealing with pressure."