Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declared their English Premier League tie against arch-rivals Manchester United a ‘must-win’ ahead of the clash at the Emirates on Sunday.

“It is a big game. We have no choice, we have to beat them.”

“Of course every big game boosts your confidence, but for us more than focussing on the fact it is Manchester United, a big club and a big rivalry over the years, what is important is to have the chance to achieve our target,” said Wenger at the pre-match press conference. 

United manager Jose Mourinho suggested he may field a weakened team after the Red Devils’ Europa League excursions but Wenger isn't concerned with their rivals as he added “We focus on our performance. I don’t know what Manchester United will do. We know anyway that they have a massive squad with quality players.”

Denying that a rotated United side could perhaps benefit the Gunners on Sunday, Wenger asserted that “The only advantage we can give ourselves is to focus on ourselves and not speculate on any weakness of Manchester United. No matter who plays, they will have a strong team out.”

Wenger had an at-times heated rivalry with former United manager Alex Ferguson but towards the end of the Scots’ reign at Old Trafford, they were said to have a somewhat mellowed relation and Wenger agrees with that sentiment. 

“Mellowed? Yes. We have respect. I think I try to respect everybody and I do not want to make a case of any person. I think it is important that I focus on my own team, the performance of my team and forget all the rest.”

“I am open always in life for everything, you know, for peace. But what is important when you are a competitor is that you give absolutely everything to win the next game,” Wenger added on the topic of a possible reconciliation with Mourinho.

(All quotes are from