Monday, February 23, 2009
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted to sharing Robin van Persie's frustrations over the club's trophy drought in recent seasons.Van Persie expressed his unhappiness last week at the club's failure to collect any silverware since the 2005 FA Cup win and, far from being annoyed by the Dutchman's comments, Wenger shares the sentiment.
The Frenchman conceded every season without a title felt like a "failure" and wants to keep his squad together to reverse the trend.
The Gunners host Roma in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on Tuesday night and - with the Premier League title now out of sight - that competition, as well as the FA Cup, provides the best opportunity to collect silverware this term.
"I feel that every time I don't win something I view that as a failure," said Wenger.
"I am here to win and give my best every time. Robin, too, is completely focused.
"He is motivated to do it, like the rest of the team. He knows he is at the right age to win trophies and he sees we have the potential to do it. He is, I must say, highly focused.
"What drives me personally is to be as good as I can. Sometimes to get the best out of the team, you sit down at the end of the season and think 'did I do it or not? Did I take the best out of the team or not?' I try to be as objective as I can.
"But you have to accept in Europe there are 20 massive clubs and there are 19 disappointed at the end of the season.
"Let's hope it is the other 19 who are disappointed this season."
As for retaining the services of his top players, the highly-rated Van Persie included, Wenger called for all the club's stars to buy into his footballing philosophy.
"It's important to keep the team together whatever happens, it's important to educate the players," he said.
"You feel after four or five years they will be more of a team than players who have been bought on the market and put together.
"I believe that is why we have followed this policy.
"We want to have values in our side that are more than players being brought together on the market and just saying 'let's win trophies and parade them'.
"We want a different ideal for the game and for our football. No matter what happens it's very important for the players to stay together."
Gunners full-back Bacary Sagna is another who is focused on winning a trophy before the season is out and insists that a European triumph is one of the squad's most coveted prizes.
"Last season we were close to doing something good. We missed out and now we want to play 100%," said Sagna.
"We know we can go far in this Champions League and we will try to do it. From childhood we wanted to play in this kind of competition. As a professional player this is our chance to do something and when we have this opportunity, we will give everything.
"The fans love football and they wish to see their team winning all the time and scoring goals. But they have to understand we are human first and we give everything."