Ahead of Sunday’s six-pointer against Everton, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted that his under greater pressure to qualify for the Champions League.
The Gunners are hoping to qualify for Europe’s elite competition for the 17th straight year, but Wenger says this time around it is beyond receiving a huge cheque from UEFA. In the past, Wenger has been under pressure to play in the competition, as the club sought to pay off the Emirates debt.
But with the North London club now more financially stable, the Frenchman says it is about prestige now.
“Financially, the pressure is less,” claimed Wenger. “On a sporting side it is greater because we have been the leader of the league this season so not to make it… the pressure is bigger.
“We want to be in there, but it’s down to our results in our last six games to make sure that happens.
“Since we built the stadium, it has always been the obsession. I got that reproached enough.
“It was an obsession because of the financial compulsory situation. I’ve always been guided by – no matter what what happens – get in the Champions League.
“But for me it’s not financial – it was before. What it is now is to play against the best: Pride and prestige.”
Wenger also conceded that qualifying for the Champions League, makes it easier to attract big-name signings, but expects Arsenal’s experience of always squeezing into the top four, to play a major role in the coming weeks.
“It is much more difficult. It’s the first question you get asked by a player. Liverpool managed to do it because they have long term contracts and they could keep Suarez,” said Wenger. “If you imagine Liverpool without Suarez, they won’t play for the championship.
“What plays a part is the memory that you have done it before, so we know we can do it.
“It is (a six-pointer). For us, it’s an opportunity to go up forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton of course. It’s both.
“As I told you after the last game against Man City – we look in front of us and behind us as well. That’s what the game is about on Sunday.
“I think we have turned the corner and we have an opportunity to show that against Everton.”