Last season, Arsène Wenger coined a phrase to explain his patient philosophy. When journalists questioned his young side's ability to challenge for honours or even stay in the top four the Frenchman would say "every new day works for us".

It meant his side was growing, developing, maturing and each training session was a lesson. Now it seems the class of 06/07 is graduating. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue, Gael Clichy and Robin van Persie are first-team regulars. Others such as Abou Diaby, Denilson, Armand Traore, Philippe Senderos, Justin Hoyte and Theo Walcott are waiting patiently for a chance. All are a year older and wiser compared to last year. It has been evident so far this season.

"We have matured," said Wenger at Friday's press conference. "We have a great togetherness and we fight for each other. You could see that the other night [in Prague].

"You understand some qualities are more important when you get a bit older. When you are younger you are a little bit obsessed by your own performance. When you get more mature you understand that different ingredients are needed to focus on and that is what we have learned.

"For example, we had a few players cautioned at Sparta and I told them it was important not to get a second yellow. If the provocation goes on you have to keep your calm. And that is a very important quality. At the top level you need the right mix of focus and being relaxed.

"Focus can bring tension but it's like playing golf. To hit the ball you have to focus but you must relax as well."

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17 Aug 2007