By Chris Harris
Keep calm and carry on. That’s the message Arsène Wenger will try to instill in his squad when they resume their challenge for the Premier League title.
The situation for Arsenal is simple: win their remaining nine games and they will be crowned champions for the first time since 2004. That quest begins when Blackburn visit Emirates Stadium next weekend.
Wenger is an old hand when it comes to title run-ins - some successful, others less so. And he will spend the vital weeks ahead calming his players’ nerves as much as possible.
“It’s important to keep calm, relaxed and focused,” Wenger told the Official Arsenal Magazine. “Not to rush your game, not to become too nervous. That’s an important part of it.
“Every year we have a stronger second half of the season. I think in the last five or six years we have always had a young team, and they grow up during the season. This year that’s happened again.
“You need belief too because if you look at what everybody outside was predicting for our team this season, nobody was counting on us to fight for the title. So we are doing better than expected, but now we want to get over the line.”
Jens Lehmann and Gael Clichy are the only members of the current squad who played a part in the ‘Invincibles’ campaign of 2003/04 but Wenger rejects the notion that his less experienced players will fear the pressure of a title race.
“I am not worried about that, the main thing that I look for is a desire factor - the desire to get the job done,” said Wenger. “So we only want to focus on our desire, and not any negative ingredient that can interfere with that. I try more to focus the team in that way.”
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