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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 8, 2009

Wenger: No need for recruitment drive

Arsene Wenger maintains there is no reason for Arsenal to be panicked into buying new players - and has told his squad to focus on their own performance rather than worry about who may be joining the club in the summer.

Following the midweek Champions League exit to holders Manchester United, the Gunners now have little other than pride left to play for ahead of the summer.

As Arsenal face up to another trophyless campaign - their last being the FA Cup in 2005 - there have been calls for Wenger to invest in some fresh talent to complement the potential of his youngsters or face being left behind.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia accepts that maybe "now is the time" for experience to be added, while Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor feels both the team and himself have "gone backwards" this season.

However, Wenger - boosted by the news England forward Theo Walcott has signed a new long-term deal - remains committed to his own philosophy of developing a side capable of beating the best once again.

"I believe that you have to take a distance with the statements of the players. They are not managers or coaches," Wenger said.

"They are responsible for their own performance on the pitch and not for general assessment of the team.

"You go to Chelsea, to Manchester United and you ask them if they feel they need to sign players, you will get everywhere a positive response. Yet if you ask the players in what position, you will never get their position.

"Every player wants to play with big names because it is reassuring."

However, Wenger insisted: "If you look at our team on Tuesday night, our oldest player in midfield was 22. They are in the best four in Europe, so why should we panic?

"I believe we have to take the critics on the chin, but at the end of the day, it is down to how strongly we believe in ourselves and how good I think the team is.

"We live in a world where everyone can have opinions, but it is people in a position of responsibility who make decisions.

"There is a big difference, because people who make decisions have responsibilities for the longer-term of the club, for the survival of the club and for the financial resources of the club."

Wenger maintains his young side are not that far from attaining the consistency of United, who killed off the second leg of their semi-final with two early goals at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.

"I do not deny United deserved to go through over the two legs, but we did not have an opportunity to show our good we are," he said.

"Afterwards people always take definite conclusions, but I believe that the distance between the two teams is not as big as people make it today."

Like Arsenal, Chelsea crashed out of Europe in midweek, losing to a stoppage-time away goal to Barcelona in controversial circumstances at Stamford Bridge.

Wenger believes the events of earlier this week will make Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash between the two sides at Emirates Stadium all the more intriguing.

"I believe Chelsea have the right to be more disappointed than us because they were qualified and you could not see how Barcelona could come back," said Wenger, his side six points behind the Blues with three games left.

"The game on Sunday will be down to the team who deals best with the disappointment, who wants it more and who has more strength of character."

Wenger added: "I know we live in a world where when you lose a game, everybody gets hammered - but to get where we were you need some quality.

"For me it is not hard to try to re-motivate the players, but what is hard is to get the players' belief, desire and a bit of joy back in the squad.

"However, this team have no attitude problem, they always train focused and well."

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