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Wenger downplays Pep’s influence

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“We are maybe underdogs but we have to believe in our quality. The history, the fact we have done it before, shows why not do it again?”

LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 24 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger suggested that aggressive player recruitment, more than Pep Guardiola, makes Manchester City favourites in Sunday’s League Cup final.

Asked if Guardiola had raised the bar, Wenger said “no, because you look at Barcelona and they are still the best team in Europe”.

“You have to accept that the modern game has changed with the recruitment of the best players in a short number of clubs,” the Frenchman said.

“We, as managers, can maybe impart our philosophy but this game belongs to the players because the importance of the players has become bigger than ever before.”

The Gunners have won the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons, 2014, 2015 and 2017, but Wenger still considers City to be the favourites at Wembley.

“When you come through such a long way, you go to the final, you don’t want to lose it,” he said.

“You want to win it. At the end of the day, you have to be cool. Because Manchester City is dominating the league ahead of everybody and so maybe we are more underdogs than in the FA Cup semi-final [last season].

“We are maybe underdogs but we have to believe in our quality. The history, the fact we have done it before, shows why not do it again?”

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