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Leverkusen give backing to Schmidt

Bayer Leverkusen

Arsenal's depth could give them edge


Wenger keeps the faith

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can learn from their mistakes next season and insists he has no intention of allowing any of his key players to move on.

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Arsenal have once more seen their season fall apart as the campaign approached its climax, but Wenger has stressed that his current players came close to an unlikely title success and he still believes they can learn from their mistakes.

"There are some things when the team has lost a little bit of confidence, is a bit more nervous, is in a more difficult patch, that you pay for, but you do not necessary pay for every year," he said.

"If you look at all the numbers, it is the closest we have been [to winning the title]. Just look at the last week - we could have had nine points quite easily against Liverpool, Tottenham and Bolton; in the end, we finished with two.

"We feel more frustrated than ever because we are closer than ever to winning this league. This year we had the quality to win it.''

There have been reports that Wenger could consider selling captain Cesc Fabregas to fund a squad-rebuilding project but, ahead of the meeting with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, he has rubbished talk of any such plans.

"We play our game against Manchester United on Sunday, and we are not on the transfer market," Wenger said. "We do not want to sell our players - so all the players who have contracts will stay here unless we decide otherwise."

He added: "We want to keep our best players. This is a subject that in fairness is not very creative. We have answered that in nearly 80% of our press conferences and at some stage it has to stop, because the past has shown that this question is useless."

A victory over the leaders would at least preserve hope of a miracle comeback in the title race, and Wenger remains determined to take three points on Sunday.

"We had a blow on Sunday [against Bolton] with a last-minute goal and it is vital for us to show that we have some mental qualities and finish with a very strong fighting spirit," he said. "Manchester United are now in a very strong position, but we have to fight until the end of the last second of the championship.

"The title is very unlikely for us now - let's not hide the truth - but the pride of our group is to first of all finish in the Champions League places. We have to look back and we have to look in front because, even if there is a minimal chance, we have to fight for it."


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