Wenger: Arsenal over RVP loss

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have finally emerged from the shadow of Robin van Persie.

Last Updated: 17/05/13 at 23:26 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Admits his Arsenal side have recovered from the loss of star stri

Arsene Wenger: Admits his Arsenal side have recovered from the loss of star stri

Wenger's men, who have endured their fair share of critics over the course of the season, head to Newcastle on Sunday with eyes firmly on a Champions League spot.

At one stage Arsenal were placed as low as 10th and seemingly out of contention following a defeat to Tottenham in March.

But a superb run of form has hauled Wenger's side back above Spurs and within reach of third place, should Chelsea slip up on Sunday.

And the Arsenal boss has paid tribute to his players, who he believes never lacked focus.

"This team suffered for a very long time from a lack of confidence because you take the talisman away - Robin van Persie - and get the new players in, then you lose the first big games and suddenly we are faced with skepticism around the team. You could see that," he said.

"That was the problem and balancing the team took a while, to find a formula to have a good balance in the team. Since this has been back, we have been very efficient.

"The Bayern Munich away game was very important, you could feel after that we could do it, that helped.

"I never felt this team lacked focus or desire to do well, but we lacked confidence for a while."

Wenger added: "The resources are there mentally and physically.

"We have played for a long time under pressure now, so let's just finish the job."

Were Arsenal to secure Champions League football once again for a 16th consecutive season - with the possibility of a play-off against Chelsea for third - it would certainly enhance their summer transfer plans.

"What is at stake is a desire to stay at the top. To play top-level European football," he said.

"There is a difference between the Champions League and Europa League. Why? Because the Champions League plays with the best teams in Europe, that is what we want to do.

"The financial consequences are big, yes, but that is not the most important thing for me."

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