Arsene Wenger has expressed his desire to go out on a high with Arsenal by ending his ‘love story’ with them in the form of the Europa League trophy.
The Gunners face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their semi final tie on Thursday, with the score locked at 1-1 from the first match at the Emirates a week ago.
Wenger is set to stand down as manager of the club at the end of this term – bringing an end to his 22-year reign in north London – but told the press (h/t BBC Sport) ahead of that clash that he wanted to secure one more piece of silverware before doing so.
The 68-year-old refused to be drawn on where his future lay after the end of this season, and chose instead to focus on the task in hand against Diego Simeone’s men.
He said: “I don’t know what I will do next season. At the minute I think I would like to finish well my job.
“I believe a man has to give his best as long as he is somewhere, with all my commitment and energy I would like to walk out of Arsenal one day and think until the last day I focused only on Arsenal.
“When my job is finished at Arsenal I will see where I go from there but I want to finish this love story well.”
Arsenal missed a huge opportunity to head to Wanda Metropolitano with a commanding lead after they face 10-man Atleti for much of the first leg due to Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card. Despite Alexandre Lacazette’s opener, Antoine Griezmann’s late equaliser handed Simeone’s side a vital away goal and something to hold on to heading into the return fixture.
Wenger added that his compatriot and Griezmann’s fellow striker Diego Costa would be the men to watch out for again for his troops as he tries to formulate a plan to help Arsenal progress to the final.
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He said: “He (Costa) has shown that he can make a difference. He played in England and was successful but it is our job to keep him quiet. Maybe the best way to do that is to play in their half and not ours.
“Antoine Griezmann has done very well here in Madrid and unfortunately he hurt us last week. He is a player I rate very much and he has made it away from home. I think he has had an exceptional career.”