Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will rather focus on the “special opportunity” to win the FA Cup trophy going into Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final game against Manchester City rather than the pressure from supporters of the club.
The Gunners are in a bid to win a third FA Cup crown in four years against Pep Guardiola’s men, who have not been having a good season so far.
Wenger is under intense pressure with his contract due to expire at the end of the season and Arsenal currently occupying the sixth position on the Premier League table and in danger of missing out of the top four for the first time in over two decades.
But Wenger says he felt under more strain in 2014, when Arsenal were hoping to end a nine-year trophy drought, and stresses league form will count for nothing against City.
“In 2014 it was special pressure,” Wenger said.
“We had not won a trophy for a long time. People questioned us about winning a trophy.
“This time, there is special opportunity. It is really a 50-50 game. If you ask the neutrals, maybe they will say City are favourites.
“It is a different competition [to the league]. Every competition brings a psychological atmosphere.
“We have seen many times teams not doing well in the championship and suddenly they are playing very well when it is a different competition.
“They don’t carry the negative vibes of bad experiences in this competition.”
Wenger is eyeing a record seventh FA Cup triumph as manager of Arsenal and will be playing in the semis for another record 11th time.
“I’m very proud because you have many strong managers in England for many periods,” Wenger said of his FA Cup achievements.
“It is not easy to do. I always thought the cup is special. The championship is more of a marathon and this is more condensed and a quicker reward.
“When I was a kid, I watched the games at Wembley on television. It is still massive and what is great at Wembley is that you see your fans coming in and it is a unique experience for them and their children in life that they never forget.”
Wenger insists he has not thought about the prospect of playing the final against rivals Tottenham, who face Chelsea in Saturday’s semi.
“No, not at all,” he said. “If we had played a Championship team, I would honestly say yes, but because we play City, I don’t think about it like that.
“It would be absolutely stupid to speculate. Let’s first deal with City and see what happens there.”