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Page last updated at 06:23 GMT, Saturday, 9 April 2011 07:23 UK

Arsene Wenger says second place is 'not a disaster'

Arsene Wenger
Wenger's side are second in the Premier League, seven points behind Manchester United with a game in hand

Arsene Wenger insists failure to win a trophy for a sixth successive season would not be a "disaster" for Arsenal.

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust recently expressed "considerable disappointment" at recent results.

The Gunners boss said: "We are second in the league. Is that a disaster? There are teams who invest 10 times more than us, and they are behind us.

"Some of the clubs behind us have done nothing for 20 years, yet suddenly get a lot of praise. I don't understand."

He added: "If we are disappointed at the end [of the season] then OK. Why do you say it's a disaster when we are second in the league? Do the 18 clubs behind us have a fantastic disaster?"

The Gunners are second in the Premier League behind Manchester United, but were knocked out of the FA Cup and the Champions League in the last six weeks, as well as losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham.

They have not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005 - but have been a permanent fixture in the top four of the table, earning regular Champions League participation.

And the Frenchman wants any criticism of his team to be put into context, insisting they are heading in the right direction.

Wenger went on: "We have been in the Champions League for 15 years, and there are only two clubs who have done that in this country - it is us and Manchester United.

If I look at this team I'm proud of them, proud of the attitude of the players and the football we play

Arsene Wenger

"Trophies are one way to judge a club. They're not overrated as it allows you to say you have won a trophy, but would you swap winning the FA Cup for playing in the Champions League?

"Is it a trophy or not to be in the Champions League? Is it more important to win the FA Cup?"

"We do as well as we can, and if it's not good enough it's not good enough, but what I deny is that everything is suddenly negative. We have built this club. Look at the players in this team. I will speak to you in 10 years."

Wenger also gave a staunch defence of his policy to invest in youth rather than signing proven stars, adding: "We have done well for our age as we are second in the league.

"There are teams who invest 10 times more than us, one player cost more than the whole team and they are behind us. I don't understand the way people think."

Having dropped points at home in the draw with 10-man Blackburn last weekend, Arsenal trail leaders United by seven points with a game in hand.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Bloomfield Road to take on Ian Holloway's Blackpool, Wenger urged everyone involved with the club to get behind the team as they chase a first title since 2004.

"We have eight games to go and are in a position to fight for the championship, so let's give the maximum," he said.

"If I cannot defend the fact that we are second in the league and fighting for the championship then I should stay at home, but I am in a fighting job."

Wenger reaffirmed his belief that this Arsenal team will enjoy success, and can rise above any criticism that comes their way.

"If I look at this team I'm proud of them, proud of the attitude of the players and the football we play," he added.

"It's only in this country that we have to face what we face. If you go anywhere else in the world Arsenal are given much more credit, I can tell you."

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see also
Battling qualities delight Wenger
19 Mar 11 |  Arsenal
Wenger urges Arsenal to respond
13 Mar 11 |  FA Cup
League is priority, says Wenger
02 Mar 11 |  FA Cup

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