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Manchester City
By ESPN Staff

Wenger only concerned with consistency

Arsene Wenger accepts lifting the Carling Cup would finally end doubts over the latest Arsenal generation being able to deliver silverware to Emirates Stadium - but feels sustained success at the top of the Premier League is already a bigger achievement.

Much has been made of the Gunners' trophy drought, which stretches back to the 2005 FA Cup and coincided with their move from Highbury. Arsenal have not stood still in that time, either on or off the pitch, reaching the final of both the Champions League and Carling Cup since, while also pressing hard for the domestic title only to fall short at the final hurdle.

Wenger, though, still believes the club's achievements in delivering consistent top-level European football at their new 60,000-seater home in Ashburton Grove cannot be undervalued.

''It is always very difficult to say whether it is harder to finish always in the top four, or to win the Carling Cup,'' the Arsenal manager said. ''The most difficult is consistency at the top, and the proof of that is that only two clubs have been able to finish in the top four for each of the last 12 years, us and Manchester United.

''It is true that winning the Carling Cup will mean we don't have to answer that question any more about whether we can win trophies. It will be important for the confidence of the team for the rest of the season.''

Wenger added: ''We have a young squad and this will do much for their confidence. Winning the Carling Cup will be like beating Chelsea, like beating Barcelona - another step forward.''

Doubts remains over captain Cesc Fabregas, but Robin van Persie is expected back from a minor hamstring injury to skipper the side at Wembley in what many believe could prove the catalyst for Wenger's youngsters to go on to bigger and better things.

''Because people are so much after us about trophies, we want to win one, but mainly because to win it would give us a lift,'' the Arsenal boss said. ''There is a weight on the team - we have to deliver trophies because we have not won any.

''The players say: 'okay, we want to win a trophy to show you we can win one'.''

Wenger added: ''How big the trophy is everyone will rate differently. I am confident that we've been, up to now, the most consistent team because we're still in everything. So it will convince the team they can deliver more.''


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