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Wenger: Champions League qualification is basic requirement

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Chris Ison/PA Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Chris Ison/PA

Sunday, January 6, 2013
9:10 AM

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta have all the makings of a side capable of mounting a sustained assault on the biggest prize.

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The Gunners head to Swansea for today’s third-round tie aiming to keep alive hopes of finally ending their long run without silverware in 2013.

A generation of players have passed through Wenger’s squad since Patrick Vieira lifted the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium some seven-and-a-half years ago.

“The fact that you can be consistent improves the confidence, after, it’s [about] winning the trophy,” he said.

“For us, what is important [is] to fight for the Premier League, as long as we don’t do that, something will be questioned.

“Even if you win the cup, [which] is important to me, people will say ‘yes, but we want you to fight for the Premier League’.

“The strength of the club here demands you fight for the Premier League.”

Despite his acceptance of the need for some silverware to be brought to Emirates Stadium sooner rather than later, Wenger accepts playing at football’s top table remains a pre-requisite for the continued development of the club.

“For people, the Champions League is very important today. It makes a massive difference for everybody inside the club,” he said.

“To recruit [and ] to keep the players, you need to be in the Champions League first.

“I agree, people always still dispute that with me and I agree it’s not enough, but it is the basic requirement.”

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