Arsenal need to finish season strongly - Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes a strong finish to this season could lay the foundations for a title challenge next term.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side must look to finish their campaign on a high if they are to stand any chance of competing for Premier League honours next season.

The Frenchman saw Arsenal ease past Hull City 3-1 on Monday to draw level with Manchester City in second, having played one fewer game than Manuel Pellegrini's team.

Ahead of their four remaining league matches and an FA Cup final appearance against Aston Villa, Wenger challenged Arsenal to finish with a flourish.

"We need to continue to win our games like we're doing now," he told reporters.

"I'm not a prophet, nobody knows how strong the team will be at the start of the season. What's important is that you go out of the season by thinking we have made progress, we have moved forward and that the confidence is high.

"We need to start strongly again next year. Who will be there fighting for the championship next season? It's difficult to know.

"The target is always quality. We work very hard to get the quality of our game very high and I do not see myself telling the team that we don't want quality.

"It can happen that you play well and don't win the games but after 38 games the quality always dictates the result. Not always but most of the time."

Wenger introduced Jack Wilshere off the bench during the second half at the KC Stadium, the England man making his first appearance since late November following an ankle injury.

"I'm not surprised how he played," Wenger added.

"If I had any doubt I would not have brought him on. I said in the press conference on Friday that it’s the first week where he has found his acceleration in training. You could see that.

"We still have to be patient. He has been out for five-and-a-half months."