Wenger - Scheduling hampers us in Europe

Arsène Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger would like to see English teams given the weekend off prior to their Champions League knockout fixtures.

The Arsenal manager is bracing himself for a challenging February with Liverpool (a), Manchester United (h), Liverpool (h) and Bayern Munich (h) in the space of 11 days.

Wenger understands that TV companies hold sway over scheduling but he thinks Premier League teams would have a better chance of progressing in Europe if their build-up was not so intense.

"For the competition maybe it would be better that all of the teams had exactly the same amount of rest"

“In the other leagues they do help teams," he said. "I've already suggested in Uefa meetings to make sure that, in Champions League competitions, the teams have the same amount of rest.

“In some championships, for example in Portugal, they cancel the games sometimes, they did what they wanted. The game before the Champions League, they cancelled.

“For the competition maybe it would be better that all of the teams had exactly the same amount of rest.

“It's difficult to say how much difference it makes," Wenger went on. "But, for example, if you have a bad bruise on a muscle, and if you only have three days [to recover], [with] one day more the player could play, but one day less, the player cannot play.

“With small injuries, you gain 24 hours and it can make a difference. Also, mental recovery is better. Sometimes after a game you go on a high.

"I don’t want to blame anybody. I think there is nobody to blame, it’s just the way the fixtures are sold.

"It is the television [companies] today who decide. I cannot even blame the Premier League because it’s the television [companies] who have the last word. If they say we want Arsenal v Liverpool on Sunday, it will be on Sunday."

Squad rotation will be a factor when the big games come thick and fast for Arsenal next month but their manager does not intend to take one competition more seriously than the others.

"We are not at a stage where we have a choice," he said. "For example we play in the Champions League after the FA Cup. If I sacrifice the FA Cup and we go out in the Champions League, then we look stupid.

"We just have to go for it and hope it goes well and we stay in the competitions."

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