London - Arsene Wenger said Friday that his time as Arsenal
manager could have come to an end if the Gunners had lost the 2014 FA Cup final
Arsenal, who face the same opponents in the fifth round of
the FA Cup on Saturday, found themselves 2-0 down inside eight minutes as Hull
took a shock lead at Wembley two years ago.
It looked as if the north London club's nine-year wait for a
major trophy might continue but goals from Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny
drew Arsenal level before Aaron Ramsey scored the winner in extra-time.
For Wenger, Arsenal's manager since 1996, the 3-2 victory
was a landmark result after the Frenchman had come under increasing fire from
disaffected Arsenal fans.
"I don't know, honestly, I don't know," said
veteran French boss Wenger when asked if he would have been sacked if Arsenal
"It was up in the air and we had to give everything to
win that final. If we had lost it I don't know."
"It would have been a problem if we had not won. It
would have been a massive disappointment for everyone, but we won."
Also read: Wenger targets FA Cup boost before Barca showdown
Wenger, who signed a new three-year extension 13 days after
the victory, added: "Usually I respect my contracts and I fight for
everything. I think as well to say to you that if 17 years at a club depend on
one cup final, it is better you don't go to the final."
The FA Cup final win over Hull marked something of a key
staging post for an emerging Arsenal side.
Now they are bidding to become the first side since the 19th
Century to win the FA Cup three years in a row after thrashing Premier League
rivals Aston Villa 4-0 in the 2015 final.
Arsenal are also just two points behind leaders Leicester as
they chase their first Premier League title since 2004.
- 'English' Wenger -
But although it would appear to help a leading club such as
Arsenal, Wenger disagrees with plans to scrap FA Cup replays amid speculation
the Premier League and FA are rawing up proposals to do away with such games.
"I am now vaccinated against the FA rules. After such a
long time, I have become very conservatively English," said the
"I am quite a bit nervous about changing the rules
because I like them now, I believe as well it looks like we always get more
money and want to play less games. That is a little bit of a
"I am convinced all of the clubs can compete with the
number of games we have to play, so there is no real need for me to change the
rules. This is the most traditional competition in England, so let's respect it
and keep it as it is."
Arsenal face Barcelona in the first leg of their last 16
Champions League tie on Tuesday, but while Wenger may rest a couple of
first-team players this weekend, he was in no doubt about the importance of
"For me it's an important game," Wenger added.
"The best way to prepare for Barcelona is to beat Hull tomorrow
(Saturday). The momentum is important and we have to show that mentally we are
capable of winning by focusing on every single game."
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