Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Arsenal v Napoli: Arsène Wenger rubbishes suggestion that his side can win the ... - Telegraph.co.uk

Wenger continued: "What people forgot about is we are on a very long run, since March we have not lost a game and if you put that (the defeat to Villa) into perspective it was just one single game that we lost in 21 now, so I think it was a combination of factors.

"All this together made the situation a little bit explosive, but purely on the results perspective it (the Villa defeat) was an accident that can happen.

"It was just about responding with the qualities that we already have in our group."

Arsenal, who beat Fenerbahce in the play-offs to reach the Champions League group stages for a 16th consecutive season, opened their European campaign with victory in Marseille.

Another three points against the Italians on Tuesday would put them in a strong position in front of the double-header against Borussia Dortmund, last season's beaten finalists who lost in Naples on matchday one.

"We are in a tough group. If you look at the teams Marseille, Dortmund and Napoli, they all play at the top of their league and in big football countries, so you feel of course for us it is vital to continue our run and to come out of the group," said Wenger.

"But you know as the well the importance of the home games will be decisive in a group of that quality."

Arsenal were close to signing Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid earlier in the summer, before the Argentina forward instead moved to Napoli.

Wenger, though, insists there is no need to reflect on what might have been, with Arsenal eventually landing Mesut Özil from the Spanish side in a club-record £43million deadline day transfer.

"It is not the best moment to talk about transfers today. He was on the market as you know and several clubs were in for him," Wenger said.

"I do not think it needs to be talked about again."

Wenger feels Benítez deserves great respect, the former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach having landed another top European job following what was a testing, but ultimately successful campaign as interim manager at Chelsea.

"He is a top class manager, he has proven that, so when you are confronted with his teams, you know it will always be difficult," Wenger said.

"But we are up for it, we want to do it and we have the confidence to do it."

Edited by Thom Gibbs

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