More work ahead for Wenger

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Arsene Wenger admits he still has more work to do in the close-season before Arsenal will be at the level required to win the Premier League again. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Norwich, United Kingdom – Arsene Wenger admits he still has more work to do in the close-season before Arsenal will be at the level required to win the Premier League again.

Wenger's side led the table for long periods of the season, but faded badly as the pressure mounted and injuries began to take their toll.

In the end, Arsenal were relieved to seal a top-four finish and Champions League qualification for the 17th successive year.

Should Arsenal, who end the season at Norwich City on Sunday, add FA Cup success and end the club's nine-year trophy drought, the campaign will be regarded as a qualified success.

But Wenger, whose side face Hull City at Wembley on May 17, concedes more improvements are needed if Arsenal are to sustain a title challenge next season.

The Gunners go into the final round of matches seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City and seven points clear of Everton in fifth, and Wenger said: “We have to continue to develop as a team. We have bridged a big gap from last season and we want to be better next season.

“How can we do that? We have hard work in the summer to achieve that.

“My team has shown a remarkable mental stamina and consistency in their attitude and I am very proud of the way they responded.

“We are looking at some aspects where we can improve internally and we will work very hard during the summer to do that.”

Jack Wilshere will return to the Arsenal squad for the first time in over two months after the England midfielder broke his foot on international duty, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains sidelined with a groin injury.

French midfielder Abou Diaby could make his first start for the north London club in over 15 months after recovering from a serious knee injury.

While Wenger focuses on a bright future, Norwich are preparing for the official confirmation that their three-year stay in the Premier League is at an end.

The Carrow Road club's relegation was effectively sealed this week when Sunderland beat West Bromwich Albion, leaving third-bottom Norwich three points behind Albion with a vastly inferior goal difference.

It would take a mathematical miracle for Norwich to beat the drop and the focus now switches towards who will be handed the job of leading the Canaries in the Championship next term.

Neil Adams was put in charge for the final five games of the season when the club dispensed with the services of Chris Hughton.

But the news that Malky Mackay, a former Norwich player, is now available after ending his legal action against Cardiff following his dismissal earlier in the season has immediately seen the Scotsman linked with the job.

However, Adams, the former youth team coach, is keen to remain involved with the first team.

“I have got my fingers crossed and I am hopeful that I am able to carry on in some capacity, hopefully as the manager, if that was not to be then obviously I would have to look at it as and when,” he said.

“I don't know what is going to happen, but it is something I am comfortable doing, I feel I am suited to it, and have the skill set to do it.

“I made the step up to first-team football and it is something you don't want to step back from.” – Sapa-AFP


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