Arsene Wenger says he’s under pressure to ensure Arsenal secure a Champions League place for next season, but that it’s pressure of a different a kind.
In the recent past the financial benefit of being in the competition has been almost a necessity but with new sponsorship and kit deals with Emirates and Puma, the importance of European football is now a much more sporting one.
“Financially, the pressure is less now,” said Wenger. “On a sporting side it is greater because we have been the leader of the league this season so not to make it, the pressure is bigger.
“We want to be in there, but it’s down to our results in our last six games to make sure that happens. Since we built the stadium, it has always been the obsession. I got that reproached enough.
“It was an obsession because of the financial compulsory situation. I’ve always been guided by – no matter what what happens – get in the Champions League.
“But for me it’s not financial – it was before. What it is now is to play against the best: Pride and prestige.”
Tomorrow’s clash with Everton could go a long way to securing at least a top four place, with Arsenal’s run-in kinder than the Toffees who have still to face both Manchester clubs. And Wenger is targetting three points open up a gap over Roberto Martinez’s side.
“It’s an opportunity to go forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton. As I told you after the last game against Man City, we look in front of us and behind us as well.
“That’s what the game is about on Sunday.”