Wenger rubbishes current title talk as Arsenal sit at summit
Published 30/09/2013 | 20:15
Manager Arsene Wenger believes it is "absolutely ridiculous" to talk about Arsenal as potential Barclays Premier League winners so early in the season - and urged his side to focus instead on their European aspirations against Napoli on Tuesday night.
The Gunners capitalised on slip-ups by their rivals to move two points clear at the top of the domestic table with victory at Swansea on Saturday.
Although Wenger may well have masterminded a superb winning run since the opening day defeat by Aston Villa, the French coach insists you are only as good as your next game, which will see Champions League Group F rivals Napoli and a certain Rafael Benitez come to the Emirates Stadium looking to put a dent in qualification hopes for the knockout stages.
"You believe 100 per cent or you don't believe, so that is how much our belief (in the title) is," said Wenger, who reported no fresh injury worries and could welcome fit-again Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky back into the squad.
"In our job the most important thing is to have a good balance between ambition and humility; ambition because of course we want to win (the league), but humility as well because we know we have only played six games and to speak today about the title is absolutely ridiculous.
"What we have done is to continue to have the same ambition and I think the team has a good humility level and is conscious that we want to improve."
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 Napoli 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 match day 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 Ozil 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 Benitez 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."