Relief for Arsene after victory

Arsene Wenger feels a sense of relief as he prepares to steer Arsenal into the Champions League group stages.

Last Updated: 26/08/13 at 00:09 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Relieved

Arsene Wenger: Relieved

Arsene Wenger feels a sense of relief after a trying start to the season as he prepares to steer Arsenal into the Champions League group stages.

Following a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the Barclays Premier League season which saw fans' unstinting support for the Frenchman waver, Arsenal won 3-0 at Fenerbahce to all but secure a Champions League group phase which could help attract the players Wenger requires to mount a challenge for silverware.

Arsenal warmed up for Tuesday's return with the Istanbul side with a 3-1 victory at Fulham on Saturday to end the first week of the season on a high.

"I feel relieved," Wenger said.

"Somebody told me I have had 956 games for Arsenal. I care about what's happening at this club and when we had the result last week (against Villa) I was deeply disappointed.

"This is not a personal trip. This is about doing things well for the club I love so I am happy we are back on track."

Wenger believes society in general, and football in particular, has become more reactionary.

"It's always excessive reactions," added Wenger, who was appointed Arsenal boss in October 1996 and is now the manager with the longest service in the top flight following Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

"On one side when people are not loyal, people criticise; when they are loyal, they say they are there for too long.

"It's always an excessive reaction and that's why people in charge have to take a (step back), more than ever.

"Being responsible in life is to do things you think are right, it's not to react to what people say.

"If you listen always to what people say, you go five minutes one way and 10 minutes later you go the other way.

"When you have responsibilities you have just to focus on making the right decisions and if they're not right, you say 'sorry, I'm wrong'. When we lose a game, I'm wrong."

The loss to Villa was Arsenal's first in 11 competitive matches - since the derby defeat at Tottenham on March 3 - and Wenger has put talk of a crisis in perspective, for himself at least, if not the fans.

Wenger added: "We lost one game since the beginning of March. That's why it (the Villa loss) was a shock.

"The defeat was a shock, because it's the first game of the season.

"We won in the Champions League away at Bayern (Munich, in March), we won 3-0 at Fenerbahce.

"It's just like that at the moment. You (the media) have brainwashed a little bit the Emirates.

"Maybe rightly so, because we haven't won trophies for years; everything is always negative.

"We have to live this out and just play football well."

Wenger admits players' moods waver.

"The confidence individually is fragile for all of us and that is multiplied by 11 in a team," he added.

"Sometimes in football you play 20 minutes well and some player makes one bad pass in a very difficult area, and it can disturb the whole team for 15, 20 minutes. It is as fragile as that."

Wenger is determined to add to his squad prior to the September 2 closure of the transfer window, something he says the players welcome.

Arsenal played with freedom and a cutting edge against Fulham, when Lukas Podolski scored twice and Olivier Giroud netted his third in three games to start the scoring.

"They are playing like that because they enjoy the style of play and because they are ambitious," Wenger said.

"They want to win the league. The players as well want to strengthen the squad.

"They enjoy playing together and this is the first year when we have not lost players; we have not been traumatised by losing people.

"If we can gain one or two or even three more, we will do it, but we did not play well because they are worried about their future."

Giroud's form means even if Wenger signs a centre forward, the new signing might not start.

"There is no guarantee the new guy who comes in will start every game," Wenger said.

"What is good about football is that it is just about quality. Most of the time quality is linked with price, but not always."


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