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Wenger asks: Why so negative?

Wenger asks: Why so negative?

Five defeats in 17 league games is bound to engender an air of despondency amongst many but Wenger feels it is overdone. Conscious of the impact on his young side when speaking prior to the game against 'boro he expressed his view that the scepticism is overdone.

"Why should we be infected by this? If there is a doubt, there is a doubt," said Wenger "Everybody can doubt your ability, but what is important is that you believe in your ability and show it on the football pitch.

"I believe that with such a young team, the minimum you can do is to be behind them, be proud of them and help them.

"To always ask them if they are good enough - personally, I don't think that helps the team. It is the first question that I have been asked since the first of July to the first of May.

"I don't know why we are always in that negative culture. In every single press conference it is exactly the same. We have not to be affected by the scepticism around the team."

Perhaps with thoughts of the disappointment created in the summer Wenger refused to take questions on his transfer policy, which for some is the source of the current discontent.

"In England every problem is sorted out by buying a player when you lose a game. We have a team where most of the players are 20 or 21. OK maybe we haven`t had the consistency until now, but we are not disastrous.

"We have 29 points and are in the position to come back. Instead of saying let`s believe in these players everybody says you have to buy five or six players.

"It is difficult to get any rationality into the analysis that we face at the moment. We are qualified in the Champions League but I am speaking as if we are absolutely nobody."

After a game in which we dropped two points against Middlesbrough the manager was unfazed preferring to focus on the next contest though he appears aware of the negative atmosphere apparent in recent games, particularly at the Emirates.

"You want always to get more but I feel my team needs more encouragement because they don`t get it anywhere and that is why I want to focus on the next game."

Claiming signs of improvement he feels that some progress in teamwork can be seen as he explained in his post match interview

'We have a better defensive balance, are more a team but just lack that extra thing that comes with confidence. This is a young team that is under a lot of pressure at the moment and that is why it is important to keep belief.'

The Premier League seems set to be a tough competition this year with Liverpool and ManU also dropping points yesterday and no one opening up too big a gap at this stage. The Gunners have their work cut out over the next 21 games to stay in among the leaders and little can be taken for granted by anyone.

The teams in the past have had periods where results have not gone their way and confidence has ebbed away. Though a four match losing sequence in 2002 remains Wengers longest it heralded a strong finish to the season in which we finished 2nd. Two seasons before we managed to lose 8 league games and still finish a creditable 2nd. Maybe there was more of a big two then instead of the big four of the present but it was probably easier for the team to come back from such blows to their confidence then with experienced players than the current crop of youngsters.

Once lost confidence is hard to regain especially among younger players less assured of the extent of their own talent. Wenger needs to work hard to instil this sense of belief and there seems to be few avenues of support for him. In reality it has to come from the team itself. It`s possible to see the effect a goal has on our play if we go in front as play becomes more fluid. Sadly we can also see the doubt that creeps in if we relinquish that gain. That will only be bridged with a positive sequence of results. Some comfort can be taken from our results against ManU and Chelsea a sequence against the top clubs that we will seek to prolong when meeting Liverpool next before we face another current top four side in Aston Villa.

It`s time for the team to think positively. Some positive vibes from elsewhere wouldn`t do any harm either.

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Date:Sunday December 14 2008
Time: 10:54AM


Action is eloquence, time for the talking to stop. I'm sick of the talking, the vibes surrounding the players will always emanate from what happens on the pitch. Yes, booing players and getting on their backs doesn't help, but the manager can't demand blind faith on tap. The quality isn't there so the belief isn't. For me, the players have little right to ask for anything from us, at Porto every single player bar Eboue, yes Eboue, tried to walk off without acknowledging the support before the manager had to usher them back, yesterday only Gallas, Bendtner and Clichy came over without having to be told by the boss. Though the fact that Wenger is now telling them to go back (which he has never done in the past) is an acknowledgment that bridges need to be built. I support this team and encourage them, that's unconditional. But do I believe in them? No.
Little Dutch
14/12/2008 11:43:00
Curious though to see how other fans deal with that issue of belief. Some Spuds fans can be accused of unreasonable levels of belief and Citeh fans are pretty upbeat at the moment as are Villa. Is that because they have more overall quality at present than we have? Or just a mindset based on a different level of expectation? I believe in the development of the club and this team. I didn't expect to win the title this year but I expected us to compete and while we aren't presently competing as well as I hoped we are still competing. There is an air of negativity around the club at the moment. Maybe that's natural given what has been achieved before but I have the feeling that positivity will return only after we have experienced genuine failure.
14/12/2008 12:19:00
I think your correct Amos and to be honest I think without additions in January that genuine failure will be a far more balanced Villa side ushering us into the UEFA cup. As much as it would hurt we have to get out of the comfort zone as a club, the AGM was a telling moment for me seeing Wenger and the board trumpet that champions league qualification was some sort of trophy was hard to take. We need to start reaching for the stars again, not with star names but with a competetive squad that means you have to perform to stay in the side.
14/12/2008 12:40:00
I tend to agree with Iceman here, I certainly sense an air of complacency throughout the whole football club. Belief is not something one can demand or request, it's either there or it isn't. For me, it hasn't been there for me since September 2nd and the reason there is an air of negativity is because it was all so avoidable. We seem to be making things hard for ourselves and I cannot fathom why. Is it arrogance? Complacency? Or ineptitude? I don't believe it's the latter, more a mixture of the first two. It's seldom that I really imbibe the words of radio pundits but someone, and I don't know who, said on the radio straight after the match yesterday, "for the first time I think Wenger has it wrong, he thinks his young players are better than they actually are." Bingo.
Little Dutch
14/12/2008 13:11:00
The young players are certainly less consistently better. Maybe the performances in the CC this season and in reaching the CC final season before last weren't quite as good as we might have thought they were at the time. The young players have the quality. The dependence on them has gone further than we might have reallt wanted. Maybe Dein was right. We should have gone for the Wembley option after all.
14/12/2008 13:28:00
I don't think there's anything wrong with the model we have followed per se. The trust in young players has gone too far now and that has been unnecessary, this team is a couple of additions away from the real deal. It is the reluctance to add those two, maximum three additions that is so frustrating and unnecessary.
Little Dutch
14/12/2008 13:32:00
Is there a reluctance though? Wenger said himself he wanted to add one experienced midfielder in the summer and apprarently tried unsuccesfully to do so - and that was when he was expecting Rosicky back in September - another mistake in hindsight. Seemingly there wasn't any reluctance but, whether understandable or not, certainly a failure of objective. I'm sure he'll try to put it right - when he thinks he can.
14/12/2008 13:37:00
In regards to the experienced midfielder would it not have made sense for Wenger to have kept Gilberto until this deal happend? Maybe only loan out diarra until Flamini actually put pen to paper? We were so close and still are I believe to being a genuine challenger again but we have to start reaching for the stars (not stars as in players) and stop making do with what we have.
14/12/2008 14:26:00
I think it stems down to having a stubborn manager. While its right that he sticks to his guns so to speak, it doesnt hurt to at least hear what everyone is saying. It must be obvious to even Wenger that we lack wingers. It is naive to think you can go through a whole season with just nasri & walcott without either picking up an injury, especially letting go of Traore aswell. He himself identified that we need a CB & CM and then changed his mind. If he said himself last year we were just short of winning the league because we were unfortunate with injuries, why not rectify that. Instead we have two long term injuries & let go of more players than we brought in. And its right as fans we question if players are good enough, when you go week in week out to see someone like Bendtner who shows no improvement....
14/12/2008 14:30:00
Gilberto wouldn't have played much this season. We don't have as great a problem, or one at all in central midfield - not one that a 32 year old Gilberto would have solved anyway - as we do in the wide areas. Would Diarra have solved that problem? Certainly not in Diarra's mind if he were forced to play wide.
14/12/2008 14:33:00
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