March 11 2014 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, February 14, 2014
Arsene Wenger claims that a “fear of failure” is the reason so many of Arsenal’s title rivals are playing down their chances of glory this term – but insists his side are very much in the race.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini and Liverpool chief Brendan Rodgers have all, one way or the other, claimed in recent weeks that their sides are not favourites for the crown.
Mourinho started it all with his claim that the Blues are the “little horses” in a three-way race with City and Arsenal, but fourth-placed Liverpool have forced their way into the reckoning after a 5-1 rout of the Gunners last week and a last-gasp 3-2 win at bottom team Fulham on Wednesday.
Afterwards Rodgers, whose side are now just four points off the pace, joked that his side were a “Chihuahua that runs in-between the horses’ legs”.
Mourinho hit back saying the Anfield outfit were in a “privileged position” due to having no Champions League football to contend with.
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has has also been drawn into mind games, led by Mourinho’s claims over their spending power.
But asked why all of his rival counterparts are playing down their Premier League chances, Wenger said: “It’s a fear of failure.
“If you declare yourself not in a race you cannot lose it. Simple as that.
“Our job is to be ambitious, try to win and if we do not win to take full responsibility for that. That’s how I see it.
“I say yes, we are in it, yes we’ll give absolutely everything to have a go for it and if we don’t do it I will take responsibility for it.”
The Gunners have led the way for much of the season but were deposed last week after the rout at Liverpool, while Chelsea’s 3-0 victory at Newcastle saw them climb to the top.
That’s how it has stayed after midweek draws for both Arsenal and Chelsea plus City’s game getting postponed due to high winds in Manchester.
The league takes a back seat now as Wenger’s men turn their attention to the FA Cup and the Champions League, against Liverpool and Bayern Munich respectively.
But Wenger still put the pressure back on Blues boss Jose Mourinho, whose side are the current frontrunners, saying: “Only Chelsea can lose it now, because they’re in front, and all the other teams can win it.
“It will be very tight until the end.”