Wenger claims Mourinho's 'massive squad' still unsafe

Arsenal will need to be at their best even if Manchester United field a weakened team on their Premier League visit on Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger has said.

"You must have the capacity to motivate the players and you must have positive communication with them, and the environment surrounding the team also has to be positive". It's time to realize that the opposing team is strong and it requires respect.

The 24-year-old Switzerland worldwide midfielder, Xhaka, took a kick to his ankle during last Sunday's north London derby defeat at Tottenham and has not recovered sufficiently to be considered for the game against the Red Devils at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final, but their season has been more haphazard, with 11 defeats out of 31 since that last meeting with United.

"We have two matches in one week against Celta", said Mourinho, for whom winning the Europa League would complete a set of trophies.

Asked if the trip to Arsenal is must win, the England global said: "Yeah, I think so". "For them it is like for us, both teams are in the position where they have to win the game to have a little chance to be in the top four".

Sunday's game is arguably bigger for Wenger, who has still yet to announce whether he will sign a new deal to remain at Arsenal beyond the end of the current season.

This will be Wenger's 58th match against Manchester United as Arsenal boss.

Heading into this weekend, Arsenal are sixth with their visitors just a place above them in fifth, with Wenger admitting other clubs have now caught up with the duo.

Arsene Wenger's only win in 16 previous encounters as a manager against Jose Mourinho came in the 2015 Community Shield (D7, L8).

Yet Keane made it clear earlier this week that a top four finish is not an achievement top clubs should be targeting.

United's struggles in the post-Ferguson era have been held up as a warning to fans calling for Wenger to go, but he says his departure could prove to be a good thing.

The Gunners are six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand, but know victory over Jose Mourinho's side is essential if they are to have any chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League. In life you always have ups and downs.

"Of course every big game boosts your confidence", said Wenger, who is still to make an announcement about his Arsenal future.

Manchester United are now unbeaten in 25 successive Premier League matches (W13 D12) - a club record within a single top-flight season.

  • Julie Sanders