26 Oct 2012

Wenger: Champs League qualification better than trophies

6:53 pm on 26 October 2012

The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended the achievements of the London Premier League football club in recent years.

On Thursday the Gunners lost their first European tie at home to a non-English side in nine years, beaten 2-0 by Germans Schalke.

The last silverware Arsenal won was back in 2005 but Wenger believes Champions League qualification has as much merit as winning a domestic Cup competition, if not more.

Wenger was talking at the club's AGM where he and Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis, chairman Peter Hillwood and majority shareholder, the American Stan Kroenke were heckled over Arsenal's strategy.

Frustrated Arsenal fans accused the board of "putting profit before performance" after enduring another trophyless season at the Premier League club and the departure of striker Robin Van Persie.

Gazidis told shareholders that football's "pointless spending race" was ending and tried to reassure them that Arsenal would have the financial resources in the next two years to compete with the best.

Arsenal are the envy of many clubs off the field thanks to their ability to generate a profit. Gazidis says that new financial rules designed to force European clubs to cut their losses will play into their hands.

However, fans are angry that Van Persie, who joined Manchester United in August, has been allowed to move after the club lost captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona a year ago.

Wenger, who has been at the club for 16 years, admitted to the meeting that Arsenal had "hit the wall" in the last two games, the defeat to Schalke and a loss to Norwich City in the Premier League last weekend.