Arsène Wenger says last season's FA Cup defeat by Blackburn Rovers has made him extra determined to progress in the competition this term as his side prepare to take on Tottenham in the third round on Saturday.
Contrary to the assertion by the Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert, that most Premier League clubs regard the FA Cup as an unwanted burden, Wenger said it is a target that he will pursue with zeal, especially as he seeks atonement for the Blackburn defeat, which was the first time in the Frenchman's reign that Arsenal were eliminated by a lower league team.
Wenger says he will field "the strongest possible available team" for Spurs' visit to the Emirates as he attempts to get closer to clinching the club's first trophy since 2005. The fact that the defeat by Blackburn wrought mental damage that carried over into their Champions League campaign last season also increases his keenness to prevail over Arsenal's north London rivals. "We have not won trophies for a long time. It's an opportunity that we want to take. On top of that we have afterwards nine days until the next Premier League game, so we can give absolutely everything in this game.
"I had the luck to win four FA Cups. That means I always put the effort in. I'm very keen to do it again, it's a long time now. Honestly I still have in my mind the fact that we went out last year at home against Blackburn, that was not good enough for us and we have to make sure we put absolutely the effort in to have the chance to go through."
Arsenal hosted Bayern Munich in the Champions League three days after losing to Blackburn and Wenger blames the ill-effects of the Cup exit for the fact that the Germans were able to establish an ultimately insurmountable first-leg lead. "[The Blackburn defeat] was not only a low point in the season. It was also something that put us in a very, very bad position to play against Bayern.
"You could see when we started the game against Bayern that everybody was low in confidence and it cost us a lot. It was a big shock and we had not time to recover because three days later we were not ourselves."
Unlike last season Arsenal would still be very much in contention for the Premier League if they were to go out of the Cup and Wenger admits that might make elimination easier to accept this season but added: "It is still better to go through."