Arsene Wenger has revealed that he will try to give the Europa League the respect it deserves but will rest players as and when he deems necessary in what is set to be a long tournament. This is the first time as Arsenal manager that the Frenchman has missed out on Champions League football in his 20 years of service after finishing fifth in the league last season.
Speaking ahead of their Community Shield game against Chelsea, the Gunners boss opened up on the season ahead and berated pundits for going back on their word over Champions League qualification. The Gunners were chastised for being happy to qualify in the top four for years without winning a trophy but now when they have won their third FA Cup in four years last season, that isn't getting enough praise.
"When we qualified for the Champions League, people told me: 'But you didn't win a trophy.' Now we won a trophy, and have not qualified for the Champions League, and it's said to me: 'Why are you not in the Champions League?' That's normal to live with, but I want to focus on my job and do as well as I can and win absolutely every competition," Wenger said, as quoted by Goal.
"I will always play a team that has a good chance to win the next game. In the Europa League if we can afford sometimes to rest some players we will do it. But we have to adapt to the level of the competition and see first what kind of group we play in."
The Gunners have completed two first team signings this window in the form of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac, with the former scoring two goals in pre-season. However, much of the speculation is about Alexis Sanchez, who has entered his final two years of contract along with Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the latter expected to sign.
Throughout the summer, Wenger has quashed speculation over the 28-year-old's future, insisting he wants Sanchez to sign a new deal instead. However, the Arsenal manager admitted disclosing details of any negotiations could do more harm than good.