Press conference

'Qualifying for the World Cup is a stimulant'

The likes of Olivier Giroud, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi and David Ospina will all return to London Colney this week in positive mood.

After helping their respective nations secure their places at the 2018 World Cup, that is understandable - but how will it affect those who did not qualify?

Arsene Wenger addressed that at his press conference on Thursday, and this is what he said:

on how our players fared with their nations…
Some people, like Iwobi and Elneny, qualified for Nigeria and Egypt. In Europe, some are in between, like Switzerland, who have to play in the play-offs. Some have directly qualified like France and England. As well we had some players disappointed, like Alexis with Chile and Ramsey with Wales. There are mixed feelings but numbers-wise, I would say with Germany qualifying as well, more people are in a positive mood.

on Alexis’ mental state after not qualifying with Chile…
I will have to speak to him. Yesterday afternoon I watched the whole Brazil v Chile game to see how difficult it was. I must say he got some special treatment - it was a very physical game and mentally I will have to assess the situation when he comes back tomorrow.

on if not reaching the World Cup will limit Alexis’ motivation…
I don’t think so. I believe that he, like Aaron Ramsey, are winners. They want to focus on winning things and overall I believe that the World Cup is a stimulant - I don’t deny that - but when you don’t have it, you focus on your club and what you can achieve with your club.

on looking at when qualifiers take place given all the injuries for big teams…
Yes. You would still lose players, maybe at the start of the following season but it would make more sense to regroup the competitions during one period. At the moment, the big leagues look a bit stop and start. It interrupts the flow of the competition and it’s always difficult because when the players go to the national teams, they are under huge pressure. The pride of their countries is at stake and to get them back and immediately refocused on the club’s targets is always difficult.