Arsene Wenger said today that talk of his table-topping Arsenal side winning the Premier League title is “ridiculous” so early in the season but he added that confidence and belief was high in his team.
Wenger’s team play Napoli tomorrow night in the Champions League, their first home game in the group stages of the competition. The Arsenal manager, whose side have lost once since March, has Tomas Rosicky back in his squad for the game against Rafa Benitez’s team.
Asked whether his team believe they can win the title, Wenger said: “How much? You believe don’t believe 50 or 70 per cent, you believe 100 per cent of you don’t believe [at all]. That is much we believe [it is a prospect]. Our job the most important is to have a good balance between ambition and humility. Ambition because we want to win but humility as well, we have only played six games and to talk today about the title is absolutely ridiculous.”
Wenger was reluctant to talk about Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, a key target for Arsenal over the summer who eventually left Real Madrid for the Italian side. “He was on the market and many clubs were interested in him,” Wenger said. But the Arsenal manager said that he was “not surprised” by the improvement of Olivier Giroud, 27 today.
"Because that gives me the feeling we did the right thing with the player so I don’t want to diminish that too much. Especially because Olivier Giroud always had a better second season than a first one wherever he played. The jump was quite big from Napoli to Arsenal in the first season. It is always a bit difficult. "
Asked whether Giroud could be one of the top strikers in Europe, Wenger said: “He is already. I don’t look at it like that. I just think will he improve? Will he be better? Will he improve all the aspects of his game and as long as the work rate and attitude is there you think that at 27 the best years are coming for him now.”
Bacary Sagna, also at today’s Uefa press conference, said that the improvement in Giroud’s English has also had an effect on his confidence. “He is always questioning himself He knows what he did well and what he did wrong. He tries to work on it during training sessions and tries to communicate with the boss.
“He is always asking about his positioning, what he could do more. Even with his English, he improved a lot and that makes a big difference.”
Wenger confirmed that his former player Robert Pires was training with the Under-21s at the club, although he did add that there was no prospect of him being given a squad number. “No, Robert Pires will not join us. He was born in 1973! He is still very fit and a great player and we are always happy to have him in training but just occasionally comes in to practice.”