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May 16, 2013

Walcott: Arsenal fear UCL failure

Theo Walcott has revealed the fear of failure is driving Arsenal players to secure the club's return to next season's Champions League.

• Blog: Walcott's all-around display catches the eye

Victory at Newcastle on Sunday will secure Arsene Wenger's side a 16th successive season in Europe's elite competition, with Tuesday night's 4-1 win against Wigan fuelling the Gunners belief heading into the final game of their campaign.

"The Champions League big for the future of the club and the players," Walcott told reporters. "We have been in it for the last 15 years and we don't want to be the players who are not part of that.

"We just have great experience in knowing what to do when the time is right. It happens every year and we tend to finish very strong. I think it is just because the players want it so much.

"It was a massive three points (against Wigan). It is going to be a tough game at Newcastle, but we want to upset them and try to qualify for the Champions League.

Walcott went on to reveal a half time dressing down by boss Arsene Wenger was crucial to their improved second half showing against Wigan, with the veteran Arsenal manager clearly inspiring his player with a half time rallying cry.

"We got a rocket at half-time," confirmed Walcott. "We'll keep that in the dressing room, but it's great that the manager has that passion and it got a bit more out of the players. The manager gave us a kick up the backside.

"It was probably a fair score line going into the second half because Wigan played some good football at times. It was always going to be difficult but we managed to hold on.

"We showed our quality and we managed to take our chances, and that's important. The morale is great, it always has been, and that showed with our second-half performance."

Meanwhile, manager Wenger has insisted his side are proving they can cope with the pressure of chasing another top four finish.

"There will be nerves again at Newcastle, but we have dealt with nerves for a long time now," stated the Arsenal boss. "Nerves are natural because it shows what it means, but this team is on an exceptional run and has an exceptional spirit.

"We have 70 points, the target is 73, so let's just go with the spirit and desire we have and I think we can do it. It is still in our hands and we have to take it."

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