Press conference

‘I’ve never seen such unity and focus in a squad’

Arsene Wenger has built some of the best teams to ever wear a red-and-white shirt, but he insists he’s never seen a squad as “united and focused” as the current crop.

 
This season has been a step into the unknown for us with a first foray into the revamped Europa League after nearly two decades of Champions League football.
 
The boss has opted for a rotation system that effectively sees him field one side in the Premier League and a completely different one in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
 
So far it’s worked well, and here’s why, according to Wenger.
 
“I personally believe my biggest pleasant experience is how focused the whole squad is in every single game,” he said. “That is the first time in my life that I see that, how united and focused the entire squad is.
 
“I am really honest when I say that. You cannot say that any player, in any competition, has gone a little bit easy. the focus of the team has always been exceptional.

“The key to that is the fact that there is a good understanding in the squad,” the boss went on. “They all know each other well and play together for quite a while. They have had positive and negative experiences and they always responded well and I think there is respect within the squad that is an important ingredient.”

Not surprisingly, Wenger has no intention of reversing his policy as we approach a busy end of the week - Red Star Belgrade in Europe and Manchester City in the league.
 
“No, because both of the teams do well,” he said. “Even in training, when we play them against each other, it’s very tight. I’ve gone into a rotation policy and I want to stick to that at the moment. I must say that I am pleased with the quality of our performances in every single competition.
“I’m not tempted [to play Alexis, Ozil and Alex Lacazette] because I have another trio who will play on Thursday night, like Walcott, Wilshere and Giroud. It’s very difficult to make a [change].
 
“They all want competition, they all deserve competition because of their quality. If you look at the number of minutes played by all of these players since the start of the season, many of them are in very competitive shape and that should be an advantage of us for the rest of the season.”