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Changes, experience and defining Success

Changes, experience and defining Success

As the journo`s are forced to postpone their obituaries following our win against ManU which confounded claims that the Wenger era had run it`s course the man himself had been quite open about in his pre-match conference about the current state of the team and it`s prospects.

He admits that the departure of Flamini has changed the team but rather than simply replacing him things are played differently now.

"I don`t deny the quality of Flamini but he wanted to go. I didn`t want him to go" he said prior to the game. "Today, we do it in a different way and we have to show we can be just as efficient.

"I think Denilson had an outstanding start to the season, he is going from strength to strength and Alex Song can play that role too."

Some see that process of change, of doing things differently, as affecting Fabregas` game but Arsene doesn`t see it that way.

"Personally I don't see any drop in his performance,' he said. "At the moment that's what people say, but I don't believe so.

"I believe he is trying even harder but once you become a leader like him and the team doesn't win, you are the first in the spotlight. Before, it was Patrick Vieira. When the team didn't win, it was Vieira... and you forget about Fabregas. Now he has a lot of responsibility and as soon as you don't win, it's 'Oh, it's Fabregas. He's not as good as before.' I don't think so.

"He will get a few more [goals], don't worry. That is as well linked to the success of the team, and to confidence."

The departure of Flamini and Hleb has left us short on experience. In some games more than others that inexperience has led to a few too many poor decisions. You could see that yesterday in some of the decisions made at times by all the younger players but Cesc, Denilson, Bendtner and Walcott in particular. That process of making the correct decision is down to experience as the more you face similar situations the more automatic your responses become. With that experience you are likely to take the right choice more often than not. But Wenger argues that success isn`t wholly dependent on experience and that if other qualities didn`t play a more determining role we`d be relegated.

'You are right that if the result at the end of the season will be based on experience, we will go down, because every single team has more experience than we have.

"But I don't believe that success is linked with experience. It is linked with desire, with talent, with intelligence. You can be intelligent at 18 or 20 and you can be stupid at 30."

The experience that does matter he tells us is held within himself. "I rely on my experience, I know what is important for the team to do. I stick to what I believe is right and I am quite relaxed about that.

"In any career you have moments that go well and moments that go less well. You are not God when everyone says you are and you are not miserable when everyone says you are. The truth is somewhere in between.

"Of course any opinion about football can be right. That is something you have to accept even if you are 30 years in football. Someone of 20 can have an opinion that can be right.

"I accept that but I also have some principles I know are right because they work and I will keep even if for example someone says in November 'you should buy him`. Even if he`s right what does it help you? You are in November and you cannot buy before January."

No doubt to the consternation of many supporters he says that he won`t necessarily buy in the January window. That we should judge the team in May but that even then his yardstick for success may not be one that satisfies all fans of the club.

In responding to a question that the current squad is not good enough he answers "At the moment I am always answering questions like this, But I tell you come back in May and we speak about it.

"I believe in this team and I believe in the strength of this team and I have always to answer questions that the team has 'failed'. We make a balance in May." He said as he continued to explain " I believe that this team personally is very strong and recently they don't get any credit. But it's a good moment for this young team to grow together, show resilience, show strengths and an opportunity to be a strong team in the future.

"Good players can always help you but I believe at the moment I have good players here. I do not want to focus on January and I am not sure at all that I will buy.

"The solution is not always to buy players. The solution for me at the moment is to trust the players I have because I trust their strengths and I trust their intelligence, so let's show it."

Much of the pressure on Arsene`s management over the last week or so has been founded on the failure to win a trophy in the last three seasons but that isn`t the only measure that he will apply when assessing his own and the teams performance come the end of the season.

"A trophy is important because you want people who care about the Club to be happy. I do not say it is not important but what does a Carling Cup trophy weigh compared to the fact that you play in the Champions League again next year? Nothing.

"There are always two decisions at the end of the season that you make. One, what you achieve and what other people see as success and failure and two, your own examination.

"Did I do the maximum points with this team, did I achieve the maximum with this team? Sometimes I think I could have done better because I made some wrong decisions, sometimes no."

That philosophical attitude might not sit too well with some but is perhaps reassuring to others in that it doesn`t indicate any immediate end to the Wenger era either.

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Date:Sunday November 9 2008
Time: 12:32PM


Can't you win the carling cup and play in the champions league?
09/11/2008 12:54:00
Chelsea are probably the only club with enough playing resources to stand a fair chance of doing both. The rest have to prioritise.
09/11/2008 13:08:00
I think reaction to these comments will be much better simply because of the result against ManU. Wenger isnt saying anything new, only re-iterating what he has always said before. However, one part caught my eye - "for example someone says in November 'you should buy him`. Even if he`s right what does it help you? You are in November and you cannot buy before January." - This line perhaps indicates that he also sees some flaws in his squad, but there is no point talking about it now, coz it will de-motivate the existing players. Or maybe, I'm reading too much into it ;).
09/11/2008 13:17:00
I have heard this before in previous years. Comes May, whatever happens he will say we were close, need not to buy, will be better next year and i trust my players. Wenger is good at manipulating the press. The deficiencies exposed at Stoke are still there. We are just lucky MU don't have a Delap and are too proud in their tradition to play the long ball. I thought we'd do well against the top 4. What is hurting us is the Hull, Fulham and Stoke of this world. Fine victory yesterday but I am not convinced.
09/11/2008 13:40:00
One simple question: If we played Stoke again next weekend, would we have a better chance of winning? I doubt it.
09/11/2008 13:42:00
I belive if we played like we did yesterday stoke would still have scored those 2 goals.......I think we would have scored 4 or 5 though.
09/11/2008 13:47:00
A better chance of winning against Stoke - no but then we already have a very good chance of winning against them. Learn to deal with Delaps party trick and take the chances as well as we did yesterday and they don't offer any real threat. We shouldn't get carried away with the result against ManU but that equally applies to the result against Stoke.
09/11/2008 14:31:00
i thought bendtner worked very hard on saturday, did anybody think so too?
09/11/2008 15:02:00
Yes I thought Bendtner worked hard and kept running until the end. His timing and execution was poor on occassions but his understanding and ideas were good. Lacks match sharpness I'd guess but there is a very good player in there that I hope we will see before too long.
09/11/2008 15:24:00
Agree with Amos on both points. (a) As the boss said, you aren't rubbish when everyone say you are. You aren't god when everyone say you are either. The truth is somewhere in between. (b) I also thought Bendtner worked hard, the ideas were there, but some of his decision-making and finishing should be improved and at this age he will. I'll be very interested to see how he works with Vela (best partner for him so far it seems) against Wigan in CC. Ooh and Aaron and Jack in midfield!
09/11/2008 15:37:00
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