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Wenger ignoring consequences of failure

Arsene Wenger is not considering the consequences should Arsenal fail to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Gunners visit Olympiacos with their progression from Group F far from secure. They need to win with any result other than 1-0 or 2-1 to advance.

The odds are against them but Wenger remains confident and is solely focused on securing the required victory at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

He told a media conference on Tuesday: “We just want to give absolutely everything to qualify tomorrow. 

“If you want to jump over a hurdle, you do not think what happens if you miss it. We have a history of positive results, we have won everywhere in Europe and we know we can do it.

“We just want to focus on [producing] a top-quality performance.”

The different permutations in the group means Wenger will have to adopt a flexible approach.

“Mentally you prepare yourselves to adapt to every situation,” he added. “We will have to adapt to what is happening on the pitch to all the scenarios, accept it and respond.”

Although an early goal would settle the nerves, Wenger is happy to play the long game.

“We have to put every scenario in our head,” he said. “We can only focus on the performances and the goals will come. When will the goal come? I don’t know. But if we play well the chances will come for goals to be scored.

“Ideally you don’t want to be patient but sometimes you have to be. It’s the same for all games in the Champions League, you have to attack well and defend well.

“We have a history of positive results, we have won everywhere in Europe and we know we can do it. We just want to focus on a top quality performance.”

Arsenal exited last season’s Champions League against Monaco at the last-16 stage in a scenario not dissimilar to what they face in Greece.

A 3-1 defeat at home meant they went to the Principality requiring a comprehensive win to go through.

They won 2-0 on the night to go out on away goals – but Wenger feels they can learn lessons on how they approached that game.

“We can learn from that,” he said. “The game we played was very positive, maybe we rushed it in the final 10 minutes. That’s what we can learn. But I believe we played quite well in that game.”

Wenger was impressed with how Olympiacos played in winning 3-2 at the Emirates but is hoping their status as favourites with it all to lose will count against them.

“They played well against us. They were well organised on counter-attacks and set pieces. Overall they were a solid unit,” he said.

“You can see they are used to dominating their championship because they had the confidence when they had the opportunity.

“But let’s not forget Olympiacos are qualified at the moment and can lose what they have. That can create a fear factor.”

Should Arsenal advance, Wenger predicts they will present a serious threat to Europe’s big guns – although he admits Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich remain the favourites.

He added: “If we get through we will be dangerous for sure. You only have to look at the numbers in the group stage so far.

“We played with 10 men against [Dinamo] Zagreb, we scored an own goal in our first home game, we have had 70 per cent possession in every game.

“There are three super favourites. Anyone who goes through will have to chase them.”

Tue 8 Dec, 2015
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