Arsene Wenger wasted little time in setting his stall out for next season, targeting Premier League glory after leading Arsenal to a second successive FA Cup victory.
The Gunners lifted the trophy for a record 12th time at Wembley yesterday, having brushed aside Aston Villa’s meek challenge en route to a 4-0 win.
The demolition featured stand-out performances from the likes of Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez, with Wenger adamant his side has what it takes to challenge newly-crowned champions Chelsea next term.
“I think of course we can push on,” he said. “Why not? We have won the league in the past, we have the potential to do it and that’s what we want to do again.”
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It is now 11 years since the Gunners lifted their 13th and last league title, but Wenger believes retaining the FA Cup is proof they have improved from the start of the season.
With victory, the Frenchman moved level with George Ramsey as the most successful manager in the competition’s history, while he is the only post-war boss to win the title six times.
“I’m very proud of that because if it has not been done it shows that it’s not easy and all of us want to achieve things that are not easy,” he added.
Arsenal’s victory at Wembley was built on their veracity in attack, with Wenger’s decision to play Walcott as a central striker bearing fruit with the first goal.
The England forward’s future has been in some doubt this year, but the Gunners boss is certain he will remain at the Emirates Stadium.
“I don’t see why he should not be here next season,” Wenger insisted. “He was a player who was out for a year and it took him a while to come back to his best. He is now at an age that is very interesting, he is at his peak and I think it’s the time to stay with us.”
Villa boss Tim Sherwood was devastated having watched his side struggle badly. He refused to blame defeat on two late penalty claims, both turned down by referee Jon Moss, and admitted he has a long summer ahead.
“The team has scrapped relegation for the last four seasons, which is not good enough for Aston Villa,” Sherwood said.
“We need to improve, we need to add to the squad but not only that, the group of players in there need to get better and change their mentality, because they are used to losing, which is not a good thing.”