By Giuseppe Muro

Ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League opener on Wednesday, Arsène Wenger has admitted that never winning the competition keeps him up at night. This year he wants to win it for the fans.

Last year an outstanding Barcelona side were too strong for the Gunners at the Quarter-Final stage, but the manager is sure his side have the required experience to finally end the wait for the much coveted prize.

October 1 will mark the manager’s 14th anniversary at the helm and Europe’s elite club competition is the one thing Wenger’s CV is lacking. Despite this, he believes Arsenal are better equipped to win the competition this time around because they are “less tender”.

When asked whether he suffers sleepless nights about never winning in Europe, Wenger replied: “Certainly, you always do a little bit.

“It goes through your head like if you have something important to do tomorrow. It goes through your head the day before a game and the day after a game.”

Wenger thinks his side have what it takes. “We have a good mixture of quality and more experience. You know when you see our team play that they are not any more tender. We are equipped to win the Champions League.

“Yes it [the Champions League] is missing and we will try to get that right. You are more worried about others than yourselves and you want to do well for people who love the club. For the players, for the fans who love the club.”

Though Wenger admitted a number of teams could lift the trophy at Wembley come May. “In fairness I can see 10 teams who are equipped, we are not the only ones who are equipped,” said the Frenchman. “We only worry about ourselves.

“I believe our group stage is a good test because I think this group is much stronger than it looks. I am keen to start with Braga because they look a handful. They are a fantastic counter-attacking team.”

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13 Sep 2010