Wenger optimistic for next season

BY foxsports • May 19, 2013

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 Mancini's successor.

"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 lacking before."

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," said Wenger.

"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 transfer.

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 challenge.

"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 imperative.

"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 Sunday.

"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 break.

"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 Wenger.

"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."