Wenger reveals his Arsenal 'dream' and reasons for FA Cup success
PUBLISHED: 07:15 09 January 2016
2015 The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Arsene Wenger says he always dreamed of winning the FA Cup ahead of his Arsenal side's third round game against Sunderland this afternoon.
The Arsenal manager has won England’s top cup competition six times in his career and has the chance to win it for the third time in a row this season.
While other managers have rested their key players in the FA Cup in recent years Wenger has often fielded a strong team and emphasised the importance of putting together a cup run.
That was particularly true in 2014 as Arsenal were on a run of nine years without a trophy and Wenger recognised the importance of winning some silverware to establish a culture of winning among the players.
Now top of the Premier League and with a real chance of winning the title, Wenger could be excused for putting out a weakened team and resting his first-team stars in such a busy period of fixtures.
But the Frenchman insists he is fully focused on the FA Cup, and he attributes his success in the competition to the importance he and the players place on it.
“It is a dream to win the cup,” Wenger said. “I was lucky I won it everywhere I went but also it is a consequence of preparing the team in a focused way.
“Three times in a row would be great but one of the most difficult rounds is the third round. Once you are in the competition the players get slowly into it but the first game can always be a little bit difficult to get in there.
“It is big for the players. You cannot imagine. If you are at Real Madrid or Barcelona they want to win the cup of their country and in England you cannot be at a big club and say you don’t care about the FA Cup. It is the biggest cup competition in the world for me.
“I think it is more the media who have that obsession that the FA Cup is not that serious any more. In our heads it is. Once you get to the semi final and you have injured players you will see how they behave to make it to the final!”
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has admitted that he will put out a weakened side against Arsenal as the winter schedule is too demanding of his players.
But Wenger says for his side it is important to win the game and to put together a run of good results.
“He has to explain to you, I cannot speak for him but for us it is an important game,” he said.
“We want to feel that game after game we improve as a team and correct what we did the game before. Whether it is the Premier League or the FA Cup tomorrow, for me it is the same.”