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Thursday, November 22, 2012
Wilshere demands more from Arsenal

ESPN staff

Jack Wilshere has urged Arsenal to push for top spot in their Champions League group after defeating Montpellier 2-0 on Wednesday.

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Wilshere, 20, scored his first goal since returning from injury to give the Gunners a 1-0 lead before Lukas Podolski sealed the result with a well-timed volley.

Despite being relieved at finally returning to the scorers' sheet, the midfielder has turned his focus to finishing on top of Group B.

Arsenal will need at least a draw against Olympiakos on the final matchday, although they will be relying on Montpellier to get a result against leaders Schalke.

Wilshere believes that while there were positives to take from the Montpellier match, the Gunners will need to improve on their slow starts.

"We started off sloppy," Wilshere told Sky Sports. "But we've still got one game left. We need to finish top. The first half was hard - we were sloppy, we gave ball away and weren't ourselves so needed to come and get an early goal.

"We have to step it up. Tonight wasn't good enough, especially in the first half. We've got to play the best teams to win it so it doesn't matter who we get [in the next round]."

Arsene Wenger was pleased by Arsenal's overall performance and praised Wilshere on his rise to form, but warned the youngster not to become obsessed with scoring goals.

"He had a difficult start in the game and after that he got stronger and stronger," Wenger said. "You could see after the goal he was more confident. I don't worry too much about his confidence levels, because that is one of his strengths.

"He should not be too obsessed by that [scoring goals]. He defended well, he is the kind of player who has to be a complete midfielder not purely an offensive player. I am quite happy with his performance because the goals will come naturally.

"In our last game against Tottenham, I felt after 60 minutes that he lacked a bit of petrol. I didn't feel that here. He didn't drop his level so he must not be far away from being at his best. I still have to manage him in the right way and not overload him with games."

Laurent Koscielny extended Wenger's praise for Wilshere and emphasised the importance of progressing to the next phase of the Champions League.

"I'm very happy because Jack lost more than a year with injury," he said. "He's a very good player. He's young and has a long career in front of him. He player well for the team and it's good he scored. It is very important for a club like Arsenal to qualify."

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