Wenger optimistic for next season
Santi Cazorla has tipped Manuel Pellegrini to do ‘spectacular
things’ at Manchester City.
The Arsenal star has spent much of his career under Pellegrini’s
tutelage, firstly at Villarreal and then at Malaga.
And Cazorla is backing his former boss to do good things at
Manchester City if, as expected, he is confirmed as Roberto
“What can I say about Manuel Pellegrini? He has been very
important for my career,” he told The People.
“As a manager, he has shown he is at the top level in Madrid,
Malaga and Villarreal. He made his mark.
“With Manchester City, if he goes there, he’ll do spectacular
things and they will get better as a team.
“He’ll adapt to the Premier League. He’ll change City’s style
but the players he has got, they’ll adapt very well. I hope the
best for him.
“If he goes to City, he deserves that and I’ll be happy for him.
He’s ready as he likes pressure. He’s ready for any team.
“In Madrid, he didn’t have the luck. It doesn’t mean he’s not
able to be at any club in the world.”
Turning his attention to Arsenal, Cazorla has called for them to
be more consistent as they look to try and seal a top-four place on
the final day of the season at Newcastle.
“The aim is to win trophies. Unfortunately, we have gone eight
years without one, which is a long time for such a huge club that’s
always up there fighting with the other big clubs,” he said.
“This year we haven’t been able to, for various reasons.
“I hope next year will be another story. We want to be fighting
for the Premier League and all the tournaments we enter.
“We’re a great team and I’m sure we will.
“What I’ve taken from this year is that we weren’t very
consistent for half of the season, which cost us.
“Now we’re a lot more consistent and that’s the form we were
Wenger feels his squad will finally be able to get the right
mental preparation to hit the ground running at the start of the
next season following a summer without speculation over the future
of key players.
The Gunners head to Newcastle for Sunday’s final Barclays
Premier League game knowing victory would secure at least fourth
place, or even third should Chelsea slip up at home to Everton –
which in itself could spark an unprecedented play-off for automatic
entry to the Champions League.
That would be a remarkable achievement given the unsettling
departure of captain Robin van Persie to title rivals Manchester
United, which was finally completed just a few days before the new
campaign kicked off.
Having also endured similar problematic build-ups when Cesc
Fabregas and then Samir Nasri left in August 2011, Wenger is
hopeful of a more focused approach when the club heads off for a
tour of Asia and then back for the Emirates Cup.
“It is a very important thing because, last year and the year
before, the summers were of course very difficult, because of the
Fabregas case, the Nasri case and last year the van Persie case,”
“We started pre-season, on camps, with every time a player being
half in or half out and that is not the best way mentally to
prepare the season.”
Wenger has already started his planning for 2013-14, with France
Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo set to sign from Auxerre on a free
While specific targets could well be switched depending on
Champions League qualification – with Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic,
Real Madrid frontman Gonzalo Higuain and England forward Wayne
Rooney all said to be on the radar – Wenger believes Arsenal will
“have a good chance” of mounting a long-overdue sustained title
“Let’s first finish well on Sunday and then we will give
ourselves a good potential chance to win the championship next year
by doing well in the transfer market this summer,” he said.
Following the decision of Sir Alex Ferguson to retire, Wenger,
who took charge at Highbury in 1996, will next season become the
longest serving manager in the English top flight.
While Manchester United have moved swiftly to name David Moyes
as Ferguson’s successor, just who else will be going head to head
with the 63-year-old Frenchman at title rivals Chelsea and
Manchester City come August remains to be seen.
Wenger thinks while the changes could prove “an opportunity”,
the Gunners boss insists a positive end at Newcastle is
“When you finish the season strong – like we do – you prepare
already next season, because you go with more certainty,” said
Wenger, whose side have not been beaten since losing at Tottenham
on March 3.
“Last year we had a new team and we have built up some belief
and, of course, with belief we want to use it to win the game on
“The game on Sunday is also for next season, to know when you
have to turn up, you turn up, that makes your future stronger as
well: the strength and belief that you can start strong again, that
you are on a run and you don’t interrupt that because of the summer
“You just know that there are some qualities in this squad that
will come out next year.”
With Mikel Arteta doubtful because of a calf injury picked up in
the midweek 4-1 win over Wigan, which relegated the FA Cup winners,
England midfielder Jack Wilshere could be asked to play through the
pain barrier ahead of an operation to remove a pin from his
troublesome ankle injury.
While the 21-year-old will miss the friendlies against the
Republic of Ireland and Brazil as a result, Wenger moved to allay
fears of any long-term ramifications.
“It will keep him out for two to three weeks, maximum. Then he
will come back and have preparation for next season,” said
“It will be a very big season for him because, first of all, it
will be a very important season for Arsenal, but as well we also
have a World Cup you want to bring back from Brazil.”
Wenger added: “No European team has ever won a World Cup in
South America, so you can be the first one.”