Wenger: We don't care about the cup
ARSENE Wenger insists Arsenal have not just stood still in the six years they have not won a trophy.
The Gunners host Leeds in the third round of the FA Cup tonight looking to bring an end to a barren run which stretches back to when Patrick Vieira lifted the 2005 FA Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United in Cardiff.
It was the fourth FA Cup win of Wenger's trophy-laden tenure, which also included two doubles and the famous undefeated championship season of 2003/2004.
Arsenal may not have delivered any silverware since their 2006 move to the Emirates Stadium, but Wenger believes people should look at the bigger picture.
"You want your fans to be proud of trophies, but also to consider the achievement," the manager said.
"Everybody is entitled to view it differently, but you can't compare winning the Carling Cup to every year coming out of the group stage and every year qualifying for the Champions League.
"If we had been out of top European quality for 10 years and won one or two cups it would be different, but I do not try to defend the fact that we did not win (trophies).
"It has always looked like 'Ah, you have not won a trophy so you have been nowhere for five years,' but in the same five years we have been in the semi-finals of the Champions League and final of the Champions League.
"One day you will realise that it is not as easy as it looks, and this year we are again one of the two (English) teams who qualified (for the last 16)."
Wenger revealed he has never been one to place much sentimental value on silverware.
"I don't know where I have my medals or where the 'Invincibles' medal is, because it is more important what is in front of you," the Frenchman said.
"I look forward for the next game, for the next win. That is the life of a top-level player.
"A top-level player wants to play at the top. He wants to win medals, yes, but there is a difference between playing in the Champions League and playing at a lower level."
Wenger added: "It is very important for us to win against Leeds, but the basis of our life at the top level is dictated by the championship.
"If we can add on top of that the FA Cup, it is fantastic.
"However, our life, at the level where we are, with the wages we have, and the aspirations we have, is to play in the Champions League. After that you want, of course, to win all the other trophies.
"The FA Cup is something that is for enjoyment. It is a bonus that we want.
"But for us, Champions League is something which is needed and compulsory."
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry is likely to feature at some stage tonight, and may well start, having rejoined the Gunners on a short-term loan deal from New York Red Bulls.
However, current captain Robin van Persie has been rested, and allowed some time to take a family break in Dubai.