Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted that missing out on a lucrative top-four Premier League spot would be a ‘disaster’ for the club.
Sunday’s match against Manchester United is huge for the Gunners as they try to bounce back from last week’s 3-2 defeat to Swansea.
The pressure to deliver will be firmly placed on Wenger’s men as they could find themselves seven points adrift of the Champions League places prior to kick-off.
Missing out on Champions League football could cost the club up to 35 million pounds, but Wenger is refusing even to consider that prospect.
“For me, it would be (a disaster) because I want to play with the best,” Wenger said.
“We want to be in there, in the top four, and to play in the Champions League, and anything else would not be good enough.”
If Arsenal lose against United, it would represent the first time the North Londoners have lost three consecutive league games since April 2007.
Despite currently being London’s third club, based purely on league standings, Wenger is eager to put to bed the idea of catching Tottenham and Chelsea and would much rather focus on his side’s own performance.
“It can happen, but we don’t want it to happen,” he said. “We want to win our game. If you imagine a catastrophe, you can always make life difficult.”
“You can go the other way, they could lose, we can win. That is why we love (the league), it can go bad or you can play well. If you play well it has more chances to go well (overall).”
“Things can change quickly and therefore it is just important that we keep our belief in our game, in our players, and that we go into the game with that belief.”
Wenger also maintained that he is determined to succeed with Arsenal and carry on for as long as possible, perhaps even meaning that the Frenchman would stay on beyond Sir Alex Ferguson at United.
The 62-year-old has been criticised for not dipping his hands in his pockets to add to his depleted squad lately, but Wenger has no plans to give up just yet.
“My motivation is to beat him (Ferguson). To last the longest is not a record. Of course I will never beat his record. But to win the game on Sunday is my motivation,” said Wenger.
“We are in a job where we need our physical strength and health. That weakens, I’ve heard, the older you get.”
“I will never retire. I will maybe do a different job, not every day out there with the football team. But I will work, that’s for sure.”