I wouldn’t have quit, insists Wenger

Manager Arsene Wenger would not have walked out on Arsenal if they had lost the FA Cup final last season, and is determined to do all he can to deliver another open-top bus parade around Islington in the summer.

I wouldn’t have quit, insists Wenger

The Gunners host Hull tomorrow in a repeat of what was a dramatic clash at Wembley in the May sunshine, when Wenger’s side battled back from trailing 2-0 inside eight minutes to win with a stoppage-time goal from Aaron Ramsey which ended a nine-year quest for silverware.

Wenger went on to sign a new deal following his side’s Wembley triumph, the euphoria which greeted it having seen the Arsenal players on their knees at the final whistle and then some 250,000 supporters turn the streets around the Emirates Stadium into a sea of red and white.

The Arsenal manager, though, insists quitting was never on his mind, no matter what the outcome had been that afternoon some eight months ago.

“Walk away? No. I have just won my 600th game out of 1,000 — that means I have won 60% of the games and after 18 years, you would not be serious to walk away for losing one game,” said Wenger.

“It (a sense of relief) was because we didn’t win a trophy for years and people want that.

“Also, after being 2-0 down after 10 minutes and they nearly scored the third goal, you know that you have very little chances of winning, so the fact that we were 2-0 down and turned it around was a fantastic relief.

“We want another cup run and we want to, if possible, keep the trophy. We have won it five times in my period (in charge) so that means we know the importance that it has.”

Wenger continued: “It is a great memory, but we have a big job to do on Sunday.

“What is for sure is that we have room for improvement and we have to manage to do that quickly.”

With ongoing injury problems and the suspension of forward Olivier Giroud, Wenger has few options to rotate his squad.

Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina is set to stand in for Wojciech Szczesny, who made errors in both of the goals as Arsenal were beaten at Southampton on New Year’s Day, while Theo Walcott is expected to make a long-awaited start in attack.

German playmaker Mesut Ozil is close to a return from his knee injury, but will not be rushed.

Wenger said: “Ozil has been out for three months. Walcott has been out for a year. People don’t realise how much time it takes to come back after such a long period.”

It is Arsenal’s defence which has come in for criticism again this week after the 2-0 defeat at Southampton on Thursday.

Wenger knows his defence must pull themselves together quickly.

“I cannot fault the attitude of the team, but we were again haunted by the ghost of what we have seen since the start of the season,” Wenger said. “It is a self-inflicted defeat.”

Lukas Podolski did notfeature against Southampton because of a tight groin, according to Wenger, with Inter Milan set to step up their interest.

Podolski could tie up his move to Inter, said to be initially on loan, before the Hull game, with the German reported to be on his way to Milan to complete the formalities.

Wenger is expected to bring in some cover during the January transfer window, with defender Loic Perrin a reported target.

St Etienne boss Christophe Galtier admitted should a big money offer come in, the club may have to consider their options.

“Loic (Perrin) is a special case that I will look after personally. I’m not saying the door is open but if a surprising offer is made we would have to listen to Loic and his wishes,” Galtier said.

Like Arsenal, Hull go into tomorrow’s game with a crippling injury list.

Michael Dawson and Mohamed Diame have been out for a number of weeks, while thursday’s 2-0 victory over Everton came at a physical cost.

“The disappointing thing was we’ve lost three or four players through the ridiculous programme over Christmas,” manager Steve Bruce said.

“The travelling and everything involved with it is total nonsense.”

He added: “We’ve lost three more arguably to fatigue. (Liam) Rosenior has a hamstring, (Andy) Robertson needs an ankle X-ray and Gaston Ramirez hurt his groin.

“As well as that, Abel Hernandez is physically exhausted.”

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