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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Apr 13, 2014

Lukas Podolski fears top-four failure

Arsene Wenger understands the importance of the London derby with West Ham on Tuesday as his side tries to keep pace for Champions League position.

Lukas Podolski says reaching the FA Cup final must not distract Arsenal from their bid to secure Champions League qualification.

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Arsenal saw off cup holders Wigan Athletic on penalties on Saturday to set up a final against Hull City and keep alive their hopes of ending a nine-year trophy drought.

However, the Gunners find themselves two points behind fourth-placed Everton in the league and, ahead of Tuesday’s game at home to West Ham, Podolski has warned the consequences of finishing outside the Champions League qualification places would be severe.

He said in the Daily Mirror: “Every season is a pressure when you don't win anything and the newspapers speak about it, the fans gets nervous, but we have the chance this year to win the FA Cup so maybe it helps the club, us and the boss.

“But the other important thing is to get fourth place back because, when you don't play in the Champions League, it's a disaster.

“Last season was the same. People and the newspapers speak about the last trophy being 2005 so, of course, the pressure is there because we were in the semifinal and we have this chance to win the cup.

"We are now in the final and of course we want the cup, but the other important thing is the league. We don't forget that because we are fifth now, so it's important to get fourth place back.

“But as I say, the important thing is the league as well. We don't forget the league because we are fifth now, we are not qualified for the Champions League, so we must do our work on the pitch -- starting on Tuesday -- and this is an important thing.”

Podolski, who has completed only two full games for the Gunners in all competitions this season, was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the 68th minute of Saturday’s game.

“I play and in the last games, I always come out and of course you cannot be happy when you always go out after 60, 70 minutes,” the Germany international said. “When you go out and you are happy, you are not a footballer, so of course I am not happy always to be substituted.

“It's the decision of the boss, he is the manager. He decides who comes in, who comes out, who are the first XI. It's not always easy when you play for a big club but of course I am not happy to always come out and watch from outside. You cannot be happy with this situation.”

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