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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Wenger belittles 'over-rated' Champions League

Arsene Wenger maintains winning the Champions League with Arsenal would not be about massaging his 'personal ego', and would rather focus on achievements closer to home. The Gunners were within 15 minutes of lifting the European Cup for the first time in their history two seasons ago, before eventually losing out to Barcelona in Paris where they had played a man down for much of the match having had goalkeeper Jens Lehmann sent off. Wenger's men failed to recapture that form in 2007, going out in the first knock-out round to PSV Eindhoven, but started the current Champions League campaign with a fine display to beat Sevilla 3-0 at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal travel to Romania to take on Steaua Bucharest next week, where another strong showing will have the fans dreaming of a trip to the final again, which is scheduled for Moscow next May. Wenger, 57, has guided Arsenal to both Premier League and FA Cup glory during his decade in charge, leaving little to prove, other than perhaps to himself. 'I want this club to win the Champions League, but for my personal ego it is less important,' the Frenchman insisted. 'I feel a manager should be judged more on his overall career than just winning one trophy. 'I was interested in it 10 years ago, but a lot less now. You want to win it for different reasons. 'When you are 40 you want to be the biggest one and want everyone to talk about you, to say you are the best. 'But I want to do it for this club because they have never done it. 'When you have more experience you want to achieve it for the players and the club. You then want it less for yourself and to say how good you are.' Wenger maintains more kudos will always go with securing the domestic title, rather than coming out on top in what is effectively a knock-out cup competition. When asked if he thought the Champions League was over-rated, he said: 'I think so, yes. 'Is that bigger than the championship? I am not sure. How many games do you need to win it? 'I can name managers who have won it and you would be surprised where they are now. 'It is a cup game and is not a championship. The team who wins that over 38 games is the best team. 'Was AC Milan the best team in Europe last year? I am not convinced. 'It becomes so difficult in the championship and a lot of teams do not turn up in the Champions League.' Wenger stressed: 'The work of a manager is in the championship. I feel you need to be a good team to win the championship. 'The Champions League is still a cup game. Of course I want to win it - but I cannot say at the moment that the team who wins it are the best in Europe. 'The Premier League is the hardest competition now. You don't have to win as many games in the Champions League as you do in the championship.' Arsenal may have enjoyed an impressive opening to the new campaign, but the same cannot be said of Steaua Bucharest. Former Romania international Gheorghe Hagi resigned as coach after just three months in charge, with Steaua struggling to find consistent form. Wenger, though, is not expecting an easy ride on Tuesday night. 'The win over Sevilla gives us a bigger audience and more credibility. We have another game and let's see if we can repeat that kind of performance,' he said. 'We face a completely different game against Bucharest. They will say Arsenal are the favourites and let's platy against them on the counter attack.' Steaua have never lost a home game to English opposition in European competition. Wenger added: 'We have not won many times in Eastern Europe. I don't know what happens but we look flat.'