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May 17, 2013

Wenger: Gunners will secure UCL spot

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he is convinced his players will secure Champions League qualification, praising them for their resilience.

Wenger also said he "would fancy" a possible play-off with Chelsea for third place, but stressed that he would not be paying attention to Tottenham Hotspur's game in the race for fourth place.

Arsenal, who travel to Newcastle on the season's final day, are currently a point ahead of Spurs, who host Sunderland. With their fate in their own hands, Wenger believes Arsenal will get the win they need.

"It's always down to mental strength in our job - and to quality - and we maybe for some periods had negative results, but we responded," he said. "That shows we had mental strength.

"I'm convinced that my players will be rewarded because they have shown that mental strength through the difficult periods of the season.

"I must give my players huge credit because, when we were under severe pressure, they worked very hard together. That's why I want them to be rewarded for that.

"We know how to behave to win the games. It's to get that certainty from our long [unbeaten] run and bring that into our next game. It's as simple as that. It's a football match, and recently we have shown we can win games."

The Frenchman said he had always felt it was possible that the battle for fourth would go to the last day, adding: "We have our destiny in our hands, and that's what you fight for in the game.

"You could see that, mathematically, it would be very tight, but I was convinced we would fight and come back. When you look at the points total we have made since February 1, I think we are in the best in the league - and that's down to the mental strength of the players."

That may yet lead to a decider with Chelsea for third, depending on whether results leave their statistics equal.

"I would fancy [a play-off]," Wenger said. "But, anyway, if there is a play-off, it exists only if we win the game. Let us win the game and, after that, see what happens. The biggest task for us is to win the game."

He said he "will not listen" to events at White Hart Lane, adding that he would be relishing the pressure of the day.

"I always said that the worst thing in my job is to play games without pressure," he explained. "Sometimes, you think it would be nice to have no pressure.

"What would be terrible is if we were going to Newcastle with nothing at stake for us. We have what we wanted, so let's just finish the job."

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