News ID:191106
Publish Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2017 19:15:58 GMT
Service: Sport

Wenger sets tough target to rescue season

Wenger sets tough target to rescue season

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger watches his players from the touchline on April 17, 2017.
LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP

Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his players to win every game between now and the end of the season to keep alive faint hopes of a top-four Premier League finish.

Seven league wins is the only way the Frenchman reckons that Arsenal can secure a Champions League place after ending a run of four away league defeats with a 2-1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough on Monday, AFP wrote.

"We have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four," said Wenger, who has yet to finish outside the top four in his 21-year reign.

"And that run starts with this win over Middlesbrough.

"The end of the season will come very quickly and it is up to us to finish strongly.

"We can do that, but also we will have to – had we not won against Middlesbrough I would have conceded that the top four was beyond us."

Wenger switched personnel and formation as he looked to put an end to one of the worst runs in his managerial career – making six changes and playing three at the back for the first time since 1997.

"Yes, I did something I had not done in 20 years – but that just goes to show that even at my age I can still change," he smiled.

"I went with three at the back to give more reassurance to the team especially as we were up against a team which we thought might have played a direct game.

"It was a committed game that we needed to win.

"I think because of their pride they made it a difficult first half and then when they came back at us and equalized, it was a test for us.

"It was tough for us because they are fighting hard to stay in the division and we might have ridden our luck on one or two occasions but I thought we were defensively stronger than previous games."

 

'Bit of nervousness'

 

Wenger's tactics helped keep a determined Boro at bay and the Gunners won the game through goals from Alexis Sanchez in the first half and Mesut Ozil in the second – though Alvaro Negredo equalized for Boro five minutes after the break.

Wenger sensed uncharacteristic anxiety in his out-of-form players before the game, which he hopes will now have been overcome.

"We were a bit overcautious against Middlesbrough but hopefully the win over them will now give us more confidence," he said.

"There was a bit of nervousness in our dressing room before kickoff because we had not had a good run and that can happen – confidence in life goes away quickly and comes back slowly – but this result helps."

 

   
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Resource: AFP
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