Wenger has been through plenty of psychological warfare with old rival Sir Alex Ferguson through the years, and revealed a tinge of regret he was not still in the thick of it all as his side now look to secure third place at the end of one of the most testing campaigns in his 16 at the helm.
‘You observe from outside. I would prefer to be in there, what you want is to be involved in the title race and we were not. That is basically sad, but I don’t think that until now, from the mind games I have seen, it has had a direct influence on results,’ Wenger said.
‘The newspapers always like that, but we could never measure the influence of that on the players.
‘I was in that situation many times – when you lose they think you lost the mind games and when you win they say you won the mind games, but I am not completely sure that it has a massive influence on the players.
‘What is important is the direct environment of the team.
‘If it unsettles them then it can have an influence. One famous example that the press always gives is [former Newcastle manager] [Kevin] Keegan [outburst on live TV in 1996] so it can sometimes make a manager nervous, but Mancini looks quite calm.’
Wenger hopes third place and with it automatic qualification for the Champions League, would allow him a stronger hand in the summer transfer market, with a £10million deal with Cologne for German striker Lukas Podolski expected to be one of several deals pushed through before the European Championships.
The Arsenal boss said: ‘Where we finish and how we finish will determine what we do in the break. What we have delivered in the last two months is quite positive and it will depend now on how strong we finish.