Arsene Wenger faced the media after Arsenal's 2-0 win over Napoli in the Champions League. This is a transcript from his press conference:
on the performance…I am delighted of course because it was a very enjoyable game tonight with a fantastic first half, played at a great pace with belief, authority in our game, great finishing, great movement. Overall, that's the game we want to see. The second half was a bit more handbrake-ish, a bit more cautious, but we played more not to make a mistake than to score. But in patches, when we went forward, you could see that the third goal was there if we really went for it.
on what Ozil has added…I think he is like the team. He had an outstanding first half where you had everything you want to see from a great player - individual skill, team play, finishing, final ball… just sit there and enjoy it. I loved him as well in Madrid, I thought he was great in Madrid, and we are just lucky to have got him. I believe as well that he enjoys playing football and you could see that. He enjoys to play with his partners, he has integrated very quickly into the team, with the mentality. He came as well in a period where we are doing well and that maybe made it easier.
"It was a very enjoyable game with a fantastic first half, played at a great pace with belief, authority in our game, great finishing, great movement. Overall, that's the game we want to see"
on Ozil lifting the Club…At the moment, yes. You know, we got so much stick at the start of the season that I am a bit cautious! So at the moment… of course he gave a lift to everybody around the Club, and belief as well. Belief is part of success in football as well.
on when Arsenal last played this well…I don't know. Certainly at home, it is one of the best halves we have played for a long time. But as well I think in the Champions League, the games you see are a bit different. I would be tempted to say last time we played Barcelona here, but when you play in the Champions League at home, the teams come and try to play as well. In the championship, in the Premier League, most of the time you are against a team that defends, that waits for you, so you have to be patient. Tonight, in the Champions League, it was a bit more [of an] open game.
on the prospect of winning trophies…We are here for that. As I told you yesterday in the press conference, there is a long way to go. But we have a good basis, we have belief, we have a good spirit, let's just focus on the next game and continue to enjoy playing together.
on leaving out Jack Wilshere…Of course it was difficult. But I do not want to overload him. He comes back for a long time, he has given a lot on Saturday, and I decided that [to leave him out] very late today. With him I am a little bit more cautious than I was before.
on Arteta's return giving him options…Of course. You cannot play with 11 players with all the games we have in front of us. It is important that I rotate without losing the balance of the team. When Cazorla comes back, Podolski, Chamberlain, we have of course options in midfield. Tonight I played Flamini and Arteta because Flamini had a job to do on Hamsik a lot, and he did that very well. Napoli are very dangerous going forward on counter-attacking, and I felt we stopped them very well from doing that.
on Flamini's influence…You don't want to compare [with Ozil] but he gives us a balance in the team and he gives qualities to the team that are needed, that is for sure.
on being in a position to qualify…Yes but we play Dortmund now. The group looks very tight because Dortmund won tonight so the key game will certainly be us against Dortmund here in the next game.
on Napoli…I think they maybe suffered in the first half and they chased the ball a lot in the first half and that took a lot out of them. They didn't give up in the second half, I just felt in the last 15 minutes they were tired. But once you are 2-0 down away in the Champions League, as long as you don't come back to 2-1, it's difficult. But they are a very good team. I count Napoli as well, it will be a difficult trip for us to go to Napoli, certainly it will be of course a big fight.
on winning being a habit…Look, it's a nice habit to have. I've had experiences in my life where we did win a lot, and other experiences as well of course. But unfortunately if you stay long enough in this job you don't always win.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.