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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Wenger still chasing ideals

Arsene Wenger says the pursuit of "the perfect game" remains his motivation as he prepares to lead Arsenal for the 1,000th time this weekend.

Last Updated: 22/03/14 at 12:17 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Still driven by love of football

Arsene Wenger: Still driven by love of football

Saturday's trip to Chelsea will see Wenger match the achievements of long-time rival Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Matt Busby and Dario Gradi in reaching the landmark at one club.

And the Arsenal manager, who is yet to commit to a contract beyond the end of the season, puts his longevity in north London down to an idealism which has endured through good times and bad.

He said: "It is down to my love for people, for players and for the game, and my excitement for the next game.

"Maybe I run after an ideal of making the players perfect, of having the perfect game. I run after that happiness week after week - sometimes you touch it a little bit, but of course it goes and you fight to get it again."

Perfection may be an elusive ideal, but Arsenal's unbeaten Premier League season in 2004 is a tangible achievement unique in modern English football.

That remains the most recent of Wenger's three title wins, and no Arsenal captain has lifted a trophy of any kind since the 2005 FA Cup.

But Wenger has secured Champions League qualification in each of the past 16 seasons, and the club remained competitive, financially stable and synonymous with an attractive style of football throughout the austere years when paying for the Emirates Stadium became the priority.

He said: "For such a long time the club has always supported me, and I feel privileged - that's not always usual in our game. We have gone through difficult and fantastic periods but always focused on remaining united.

"I acted always with three things in my mind: first, every decision I make is like own the club; second, I am in a job where you need to have a clear perception of your ideas and have the courage to transform them into actions; the third thing I am guided by is to make this club grow and make sure the club is bigger when I leave than when I arrived.

"Time will tell if I managed to do that, but I hope so.

"The most important thing for the management of the club is the consistency of the achievement - the trophies come and go. You see the quality in the consistency.

"Of course we want to win trophies, but I think if you look at the consistency we've shown in the last 15 or 17 years and compare it with other clubs - that's very difficult to achieve."

This season represents a chance for Arsenal to end their lean spell - they go to Stamford Bridge four points behind leaders Chelsea with a game in hand and are favourites for the FA Cup.

Wenger - presented with a gold cannon by Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick on Friday - said: "We are in a period where every game is vital. For us the Chelsea game is the most important game of the season."

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