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Thursday 17 January 2019

Wenger warns against Ipswich hangover

Arsene Wenger had challenged his young Arsenal side to retain their focus after securing a place in the Carling Cup final at Wembley next month -- starting with the visit of League One Huddersfield on Sunday.

The Gunners last night overcame a stubborn Ipswich 3-0, having lost the first leg 1-0 a fortnight ago.

It will be a first Wembley final since 1998 and the chance to end a six-season trophy drought, with the last piece of silverware being the FA Cup in 2005.

Wenger feels his squad should be confident of delivering in all competitions as they challenge for honours at home and in Europe -- which continues against the Terriers in the FA Cup fourth round at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

"We want to go for all the competitions," the Arsenal manager said.

"We have learned something from Leeds and Ipswich, and that is you have to be 100 per cent focused.

"We play Huddersfield on Sunday at the Emirates, so to be capable to focus on that game will be vital for us."

Wenger hopes victory in the Carling Cup final, where they will face either Birmingham or West Ham, could provide his squad with a springboard.

"I get the same question every time, so I say 'we will try to win everything we can', but on the other hand it can more get the pressure off the team to deliver in the other competitions," Wenger said. "It is not the only target we have of the season, we have even bigger targets, but it can help us to achieve the other targets."

For more than an hour, Ipswich frustrated the Gunners.

However, Nicklas Bendtner finally ended their resistance with a fine individual goal before Laurent Koscielny headed in a second and Cesc Fabregas made sure of the trip to Wembley late on.

Wenger, meanwhile, insisted Arsenal were not close to concluding a deal for Southampton teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, or any other of their transfer targets.

"There is no news, and I would be surprised if there will be," he said.

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