Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on fan apathy: I’m not worried about attendances
- Credit: Archant
With a high-placed Arsenal source telling the Islington Gazette the match against CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening in the Europa League quarter final first leg is ‘more or less sold out’ read Arsene Wenger’s views on the apathy that has been enveloping the Emirates.
The 3-0 victory over Stoke City may have been the Gunners fourth win on the bounce but it was hard to tell from the large number of empty seats evident at the stadium on Easter Sunday.
Despite the long-serving Frenchman shrugging off the disenchantment by attributing the no-shows to the Easter break it was clear there is more to it than just the scenario of fans on holiday.
However as the club prepared to face Viktor Goncharenko’s side Wenger again dismissed the notion.
He said: “I’m not worried about that. I think the crowd, when something is at stake, is always there and behind us.
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“Anyway, on top of that, what will decide the crowd’s attitude is the quality of our game.
“We had a clear attitude, to try to win the game [against Ostersunds and AC Milan], and it went well.
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“We will try to repeat the same kind of performance, but we’re playing against a team who has done well in Europe as well. We certainly need a top-class performance.”
The team is 13 points off qualification for the Champions League as hopes fade of a top four spot. As with last season, a winter dip in form saw the Gunners falter in their bid for a place at Europe’s top table.
Wenger – whose side emphatically lost to Manchester City 3-0 twice in four days including a dismal League Cup final where they were outclassed by Pep Guardioila’s side – tried to explain the dip.
He said: “Yeah, of course. We were disappointed with our results against City and it always takes a bit of time to grieve and recover.
“The mentality in the team is very good, very strong and very healthy as well. We recovered.
“You judge a team and the quality of a team on the way they come out of a crisis. On that front, I believe it’s very positive on our side.”