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Wenger upbeat over next season

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his side are "not far away" from challenging for Premier League and Champions League trophies.

• Blog: Focus now all on league

In a statement that may infuriate his critics after a week that saw Arsenal crash out of the FA Cup against Blackburn before a crushing 3-1 defeat against Bayern Munich at Emirates Stadium, Wenger has suggested that this Gunners squad are on the brink of ending the club's eight-year trophy drought.

Yet the defiant Arsenal boss has insisted he will add the required players to his current squad and transform a faltering side into a winning unit in the near future.

"We are not far away, even if it is difficult to convince you of that today," stated Wenger. "We have a basis of a team that is very strong and we need to strengthen the team where in the positions we feel where we are a bit weaker.

"I believe in some areas of our team we can compete with anybody in the world as we are analyse all the European and English teams and in some areas of our team we are very competitive. We speak about Wilshere, Cazorla and we have a very strong technical basis, but we have to be more efficient.

"We are not so far from a team like Bayern, who are in a position where they are like Manchester United is in England. They can afford to do what they want. They are the strongest financial club. You send Chelsea and Man City to Germany and we will speak about Bayern again.

"You have to compare what is comparable. Bayern do what they want in their country and they can spend the money when they want as they are the only dominating club. They have no competition financially in Germany."

Wenger is convinced irate Arsenal supporters will stay loyal to the cause amid the current crisis engulfing his squad, as he again confirmed he has not lost faith in his own abilities to get his team back to winning ways.

"Of course I can take the club forward and I believe the fans are still with the club, which is very important," he stressed. "I work for the club and I try to keep the fans happy. If they are not happy then I am unhappy as well. That's part of my job, not everybody is always with you, and not everybody is always against you."

Wenger went on to claim he needs to show leadership during Arsenal's hour of need, as his status as the club's figurehead can be crucial to lead them out of the hole they find themselves in.

"I'm in a strong mood because if I am not I don't see how my team can be," he added. "I have enough experience in my job to know you have to deal with all kind of situations and this is one that is difficult to handle, but it's also a good opportunity to show that we have strength to deal with it.

"We are fighting for a Champions League place, not against relegation and we have to take that in a positive way if we are to stay at the top. For us, the status of the club goes through the Champions League and we need some strength to get into this competition again. I think everyone realises that."


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