Wenger places unwavering faith in Henry's leadership

Wenger does not believe Henry's leadership qualities should be questioned after Arsenal's 1-0 weekend defeat at Chelsea, when they were unable to respond to going behind.

He insisted ahead of last night's match against Fulham at Highbury that Henry would grow into the role. "I am convinced that Thierry has the qualities to be the leader of the team," said Wenger. "Just give him a bit of time to adjust. It took a while for Patrick [Vieira] but it became natural after two or three months.

"As a striker, Thierry is in a different position but I believe he's adjusting very well. Don't forget that he was out for four months through injury. You feel him in the dressing-room. He analyses quickly what is happening and he responds very well."

Wenger believes that Brazilian international midfielder Gilberto is also a "real leader", adding that "people underestimate his leadership qualities".

However, Arsenal still appear to miss Vieira's influence after selling their former captain to Juventus.

The return of Sol Campbell from injury would certainly help to add some stature and experience to the spine of the team, although it is still at least a fortnight away.

Wenger insisted he had not lost faith in emerging Swiss international Philippe Senderos despite the 20-year-old defender twice being exposed by Chelsea's Didier Drogba in the past fortnight.

"It's part of learning your job," said Wenger. "He's young and you know he will make mistakes. I feel that he had a good game on Sunday, apart from being caught on that goal and then it affected him," said Wenger. "Tony Adams made mistakes but it didn't affect him."

Wenger is looking for Arsenal to recover their sharpness, self-belief and speed of passing against Fulham, although they will be missing Freddie Ljungberg with a bruised knee.

Dennis Bergkamp also faces a fitness test on a back problem, but Wenger is relishing the added pressure on his young team.

"We want to win trophies so therefore the pressure is exactly the same. In fact, it's already bigger as we are three points behind Chelsea," he said.

"But I don't want the pressure to be off because if you can't play with pressure then you have nothing to do with Arsenal."

Wenger's counterpart at Fulham, Chris Coleman, insists Arsenal remain a potent force.

"You never write off Wenger," the Welshman said. "He knows exactly what he is doing. He has sold great players, replaced them and been proved right.

"I remember when Sir Alex Ferguson sold the likes of Mark Hughes and Paul Ince after Man United had just won the title. Alan Hansen said, "You never win anything with inexperienced players", and they went on to win the Double."

After drawing their opening game of the new season against Birmingham, Fulham were beaten 2-1 at Blackburn on Saturday and Coleman was less than impressed. If his options were not limited by injury, he would be making sweeping changes at Highbury.

"I wanted to rattle a few cages after Saturday's performance," Coleman said.

"If I could have made half a dozen changes, I would and I don't think there could have been a complaint."

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