Wenger defends Arsenal’s recent trophy drought

The Gunners boss says winning silverware is not everything and believes his team have not been given the credit they deserve for some of their achievements in recent seasons

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended the club’s recent lack of trophies as he prepares for his 1000th match in charge of the Gunners against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The north Londoners have failed to win a trophy since lifting the FA Cup in 2005 but remain in the title hunt this season, just four points behind leaders Chelsea, and have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

However, Wenger says that winning trophies is not everything and believes the club have not been given credit for some of their achievements in recent seasons.

“When you make a decision [to build the Emirates Stadium] you don’t say, ‘OK, we invest in the stadium but we don’t want trophies’,” he told the club’s official website.

“In 2006 we were in the Champions League final. Nobody speaks about it now but it’s still an achievement.

“It’s not a trophy but we did it without conceding a goal in the whole campaign and only lost in the last 13 minutes of the Champions League. Can you say you failed that season? I don’t think so. On top of that we managed to stay in the top four that season.

“We [also] beat Real Madrid with Zidane and Beckham and all these people but nobody speaks about it. It’s like we have done nothing at all. Why? Because at the end of the season you don’t parade the trophy.”

Arsenal have come close to ending their drought on several occasions, reaching the Champiosn League final in 2005 and the Capital One Cup final in 2011, but Wenger says a team should not just be judged purely on the silverware they collect.

“Had we won the League Cup that season people would have said, ‘Ah, they won the League Cup in 2006’. But what is it compared to when you know as a manager… to win the League Cup or reach the Champions League final without losing a game, what is the difference?” he added.

“You have to take a little bit of distance with [the criticism for a lack of trophies] and assess what is difficult and what is a good season. I know that trophies are important. But it’s not like if you haven’t won a trophy nothing happened in the whole season and it was disastrous.

“You still played good games and bad games and in the season when you won trophies you still played bad games.”

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