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May 16, 2014

Mikel Arteta: Wenger more than trophies

The FA Cup Final is upon us and Arsenal fans across the world are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. They're about to win a trophy. Yes! A trophy!

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho branded Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a "specialist in failure" in February, and now Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta has re-opened that unsavoury chapter of this season ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final.

Mikel Arteta, Arsene Wenger, Jack Wilshere
Mikel Arteta says Arsene Wenger's time at Arsenal should be measured in more than trophies.

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Wenger will look to end his nine-year trophy drought with a victory against Hull City at Wembley this weekend, with the irony that his long-awaited success could come in a season when Mourinho won nothing at Chelsea not lost on anyone at Arsenal.

Yet Arteta was not about to taunt Mourinho about his own lack of silverware this season, when reporters attending Arsenal's FA Cup final press day asked him about the infamous comment.

"If success is only to win a trophy, it doesn't matter how, then I think [Wenger] is the way [Mourinho] is saying," stated the Spaniard. "If you analyse everything [Wenger] has done for the club, then if he is a failure I have a different opinion.

"I don't like it when someone criticises my teammates, the staff, the manager, the club because I see what he does every day to look after this club.

"When they are right maybe you can accept, everybody makes mistakes. You can criticise the manager, whoever, but when it comes in a certain moment in a certain way I don't like it."

Arteta went on to claim FA Cup success for Arsenal this season could transform the mindset of Wenger's team for years to come, as he suggested a major trophy for this Gunners side could fuel their belief.

"Of course, when you win a trophy and you don't win it is very different," said Arteta. "With the history we have over the last nine years without any trophies at all, obviously it could be a great turning point.

"It's something else apart from the trophy as to what it can mean to the club, to the fans, to everyone. I have not played in a cup final. I had an opportunity with Everton [but injured a knee a few weeks before].

"The history of the FA Cup in England is massive compared to Spain. I was very surprised with the atmosphere we got in the semifinal against Wigan, so I imagine how it is going to be like on Saturday. It's a great opportunity, it's great to be there.

"I can't sense any fear in our team. What I sense is a big determination. The players can't wait for Saturday to come and to be on that pitch. If it was different I would say that, but it's not the case."

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