Arsene Wenger refuses to be drawn on whether FA Cup win and top four place is a ‘good season’ – as he still smarts over Bayern Munich humiliations despite routing Lincoln 5-0
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Arsene Wenger refused to be drawn on whether winning the FA Cup and finishing in the top four would be classed as a good season, after Arsenal comfortably disposed of non-league minnows Lincoln City 5-0 in the sixth round of the FA Cup today.
The result means the Gunners will play at Wembley in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on the weekend of April 22/23, but Wenger was in no mood to look that far ahead after today’s game.
He said: “I am in not in that mode in my mind at all. I just focus on winning the next game.
“We were a bit nervous because your confidence drops when you don’t have the right result. I didn’t want to gamble today because in the end it was important to win the game today.”
Despite easing through to the last four with goals from Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, an own goal from Luke Waterfall, a fourth from Alexis Sanchez and the ffith from Aaron Ramsey, Wenger praised Lincoln City.
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He said: “They knocked Ipswich out, Brighton out and Burnley out. They had a clarity in what they wanted to do and they did it well.
“For us it was important to be focussed and not make a mistake. They had a big [travelling] crowd behind them today. They had a chance.
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“I think they have quality. I think they will come back up to the league.”
However, Wenger was still smarting from Tuesday night’s 5-1 humiliation against Bayern Munich in the Champions League which saw fan protests before the game after his team lost ground in the race for the top four after losing limply to Liverpool at Anfield last Saturday.
With the 5-1 first leg rout at the Allianz Arena last month effectively sealing his fate he was still furious at Greek referee Tasos Sidiropoulous for awarding a penalty when Robert Lewandowski tumbled in the box, before he then sent off Laurent Koscielny after input from the official behind the goal.
The Frenchman, still dwelling on the humiliation of the 10-2 aggregate defat by the Germans insisted: “I think the team was justifiably criticised after our last game against Bayern Munich – but the game was killed by the referee.
“But we have to look at it with a bit of perspective and overall respond today – and we did.
“I think we had an outstanding game against Munich but the referee killed the game. I watched the game three times and he killed the game.
“The team had performed well against Bayern and I wanted to give them a chance to find their confidence back by winning the next game.
“That’s why I maintained 90 per cent of the players in the team line up because we had been hit very hard after the game.
“The players didn’t let me down. I thought we gave an outstanding performance when it was 11 vs 11.”
With Arsenal dropping out of the top four after failing to beat a league team since Hull City on February 11, Wenger is already looking to next week’s vital match against Tony Pulis’ West Brom at the Hawthorns in a bid to kickstart his team’s top four hopes before the Wembley FA CUp semi final.
He added: “I’m always focussed on the next game, and I’m happy that we won the game today but I know what is in front of us is more important.
“We go to West Brom and then we have the international break. We have lost some ground on the teams.
“If you sat in my seat you would realise it is an impossible job to keep everyone quiet. Ideally I would love to but practically it is very difficult.”