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Frenchman continues to defend his young squad, maintaining that they have they have enough experience and calling for a strong finish

Arsene Wenger admits that the current campaign has been the toughest for him and his Arsenal side.

Wenger's team suffered a Carling Cup final defeat, as well as exits from the FA Cup and the Champions League within a month, and also endured stuttering league form which has seen the Gunners slip to third behind Chelsea in the Premier League.

But the Arsenal boss maintains his group of players has the quality to achieve things going forward into next season.

Wenger also dismissed suggestions that his team is too young, and remains proud of what they have accomplished during another trophyless season.

"It is certainly the year when I have worked the hardest,” Wenger told reporters.

“Every year has been tough, but for the team it has been the toughest.

"But over the last five years this has been the highest quality we have produced.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of our performance. We have not lost against low-level teams. In the FA Cup we have lost away to Man United just three days after playing in Barcelona.

"So I give this team a lot of credit. We have battled on all fronts and we have produced quality.

"We just couldn’t finish the job.”

Wenger bristled at suggestions that his side are missing the right amount of steel in the centre of the team.

"At the moment I do not want to focus too much on what we miss," he said, when asked if the Gunners lack an inspirational figure.

“They [we] are very close. We need to strengthen some areas but we have the quality.

"At the moment we have to face some scepticism, but we have to keep believing in our strengths."

Wenger is adamant that although youthful, his players are experienced, and has called on them to end the season on a high.

''The team has accumulated a lot of experience despite their age. They are on average 23, but football-wise they are 26 or 27.

"I gave them a chance to play at a young age and I don’t regret that. Maybe I could have got some more experienced players, but it is too easy to say that.

"Now we need to focus on what we have and there is no need to add any negatives to our situation.

‘‘Let’s finish our season with pride and we will try to add to our team what we can.”

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