QPR v Arsenal
Arsene Wenger insists his hunger for success burns as fierce as ever and he has no intentions of leaving Arsenal yet, hinting for the first time he would like to stay past 2014.
The 63-year-old Gunners manager still has another season left to run on his current deal, but has been linked with a summer switch to big-spending Paris St Germain.
Wenger, though, maintains his focus is very much on the job at hand, which is guiding Arsenal to another top-four finish and into the Champions League again, before he will then attack the transfer market with the best part of a £100 million war chest at his disposal.
“Every football game excites me and football in general still excites me — the love for this club as well,” Wenger said ahead of today’s trip to relegated QPR.
“I have answered that question (about PSG) already. I respect my contracts.
“I want to stay (past 2014) if I do well and if I consider or the club considers that I do well, that is all.
“I want this club to do well — that is my basic feeling.
“We have gone through a period that was very sensitive. We are coming out of it now, in a much stronger position financially.
“I believe the club is in a very strong position for the future.”
The French coach is in no doubt when he does eventually call it a day, Arsenal will be in good shape for the future.
“I believe that this club is today in a very, very strong position and has gone through a very sensitive period in a very intelligent way. After that, everything is here to have a great future. It is just to manage it well now.”
Arsenal head to Loftus Road on the back of a seven-match unbeaten league run which has moved them into fourth place — one point behind Chelsea and two ahead of Tottenham, albeit having played a match more.
Chelsea head to Manchester United tomorrow, before then hosting Spurs next Wednesday.
Wenger feels if his team go on to take maximum points from their own remaining fixtures — which are also at home to FA Cup finalists Wigan and then at struggling Newcastle on the final day — they should secure another campaign of Champions League football.
“What is important for us is that we finish well and then think that we have done the maximum that we could,” said Wenger.
“Does it go for us or not? I don’t know.
“It depends a little bit on the other results. What is important is that we win our games.”
Last season, Arsenal finished third with 70 points, just one ahead of Tottenham, who eventually missed out on the Champions League when Chelsea went on to win the final against Bayern Munich.
Wenger said: “If we win all our games we will have 73 points and if we are not in the Champions League with 73 points, or fourth with 73 points, which is unlikely, at least you have done the job.”
Wenger believes his side deserve some credit for the way they have recovered from the sale of captain Robin van Persie to United last summer.
He added: “We lost a great player, I don’t want to deny that, and we didn’t want to sell him to Man United, but we started in a very negative environment.
“I think the team has good focus, good basic quality, and if we finish at that level it will be all right, but it is not done.”
While Arsenal are chasing a top-four spot QPR are coming to terms with relegation.
Manager Harry Redknapp has dismissed claims his side lacked ambition this season and has instead claimed they were simply not good enough.
“I don’t think they have lacked desire, what they have lacked is ability,” he said.
“People keep saying what a good squad we are and that is absolute rubbish. We are where we are because of how good we are. It’s not because they have not tried.
“It’s not been a lack of desire, it was a badly balanced squad that lacked the ability to stay in the Premier League.”
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