Arsene Wenger Insists Arsenal Will Not Change Style Of Play Against Barcelona

Boss has never had a group of players with such consistent focus
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists his side will not change their style of play against Barcelona on Wednesday night.

The Gunners crashed out of the Champions League to the Catalans last year, losing 6-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, and Wenger admits they will have to keep calm against a side that will have so much possession of the ball.

“We're Arsenal. We can only survive with our qualities as individuals and as a team,” he told reporters.

"If you want us to play long balls and long throw-ins tomorrow it would be worse than playing our own game. Of course we want to nullify their strengths. Usually we have 60 per cent of the ball and our opponents 40%, or 70% and 30%. Tomorrow it might be a little bit the other way. When we defend we have to defend with calmness and determination."

Wenger was without many of his star players in this same fixture last season and will be buoyed by the fact his squad has an almost entirely clean bill of health.

Samir Nasri, who has been out since January with hamstring problems, is set to return after resuming training last week.

"Last year was not the real Arsenal," Wenger said. "In the first game we lost [Andrey] Arshavin after 30 minutes and [William] Gallas at half-time, so we had already made two changes. We also lost [Cesc] Fabregas in the last minute so [we] went into the second game with three key players not fit."

But the knock to their collective pride Arsenal suffered last year after being dumped out of the competition by Barca has only served to inspire the squad to greater things, Wenger insisted.

He said: "Certainly, because we came out of the second game with a lot of frustrations [as] we missed the turning point of the game when we were 1-0 up over there. We are stronger because this team has attitude, focus every day.

"Since I am a manager for a long time I have not seen many teams with such consistent focus every day to improve. The main reason we have improved is because of the attitude of the players. We want to win this competition and we know we face the super-favourite. But the only way to do it is to knock them out."

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