Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can handle the pressure of a title challenge because his current squad are more mature and disciplined than previous sides under his control.
While the boss admits talk of winning the championship is premature, the Gunners do have the chance to go top of the table this evening, albeit temporarily, with a win against Everton.
Reflecting on his side’s form over the last twelve months, Wenger stressed the importance of consistency when speaking to the media on Friday.
“We have strengthened our belief with our run last season, from January 1 – you could feel there was really a change in our stability.
“We have shown that we can handle the pressure. What is the most important for me is to continue to develop as a team, to feel that we grow in the quality of our game.
“We have maybe a better discipline. People reproached us many times: ‘okay, Arsenal play football, but they are a bit fragile.’ Before, maybe, when we were not dominating completely the game, we were a bit insecure.”
“We are more mature, for sure,” he continued. “Two years ago, we were a long time top of the league. After, we lost one or two players and we lost one or two big games, that was the killer for us.
“I feel today we are better prepared. We know, as well, the competition will be long. We have played nine games, there is a long way to go, but let’s make sure that we can produce week in, week out. For me, that is the most important (thing).”
Speaking to Arsenal.com the boss went into further detail about finding a balance between confidence and desire.
“We have built up a run and that brings confidence, but you also want a good compromise between confidence, urgency and hunger. It must give us hunger to do more. That’s what we want to do against Everton.
“We have worked very hard after a dodgy start in the first game [of the season] to put us back in the position where we are now. We have a great opportunity so we want to continue our run.”