Arsene Wenger said that while some of his previous sides may have lacked fight, his current crop of Arsenal stars were different.
Wenger oversaw a gritty 1-0 win over Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, and said his side showed plenty of character to overcome their stubborn opponents.
“It is another aspect of your team that is tested in a game like that,” Wenger said after the win.
“You fight, not to concede a goal, not panic and wait for your chance. We were more questioned on that aspect than the way we play football, so it is good sometimes to win like that.
“I have belief because of the experience, the quality of the attitude.
“I think a team always has a charisma. If you look at the team as a unit, it is like a person. If you look at your team like a person and the vibes coming out, you can sense – when you are a long time in the job – if there is something in there or not.
“In my job, if you don’t believe in your team you are in a bad shape.”
Wenger said the team’s greater experience was responsible for the improved determination.
“I think they are more experienced. When we moved into the stadium here the average age was 23 or 24. On our day we could play everybody off the park but when you had to dig deep, come out with your knowledge and your experience, it was a bit more difficult — but these are different teams,” he said.
“Our target, and my target, is to get the best out of the team and, if possible, make sure nobody is better than us.
“If somebody is better than us, it’s sport.”
Wenger said he would give his players a couple of days off training to rest their tired bodies after a hectic Christmas schedule, during which Arsenal played three games in eight days, winning their last two after a shock 4-0 loss to Southampton on Boxing Day.
“I will give them a couple of days, an extra rest but you never know what shape they come back in,” he said.
“It depends what you do when you have a rest. You can come back more tired.”
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