Wenger: The real start of the season is now

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It seems like an eternity since the defeat at Old Trafford, but proper football is back. Readying his team for the visit of Swansea tomorrow, Arsene Wenger spoke to Arsenal Player about the last two weeks, giving his take on the loss to Manchester United, his decisions to invest in new players, what his new recruits bring to the squad and all the latest injury and suspension news.

His view on the defeat at Old Trafford…

We are very disappointed and we were absolutely down after the game but putting things into perspective, we were really weakened on the day, we had a very demanding game on the Wednesday against Udinese and then conceded four goals in the last 20 minutes when we were down to ten men. Of course it was difficult, but maybe the international break came at a good time. In between we could buy some players and could get some players back from injury.  The real start of the season, where we can get the whole squad together is now.

On whether the 8-2 influenced his decision to buy…

No, not really. What really incited me [to buy] was knowing that Wilshere will be out for longer than expected, that Vermaelen needed surgery, that Gibbs to have the whole season on his shoulders at left-back with Traore leaving would be very difficult. With Bendtner going out the possibility to buy another striker [was also there]. I wanted as well some more experience in the squad because on the bench at Manchester United we were very, very young. In a game of this stature of course it’s very difficult for the players.

On the manner in which he bought…

We did what I believe is right the way to do it. Unfortunately, the transfer deadline makes things happen and possible. People before that wait for a long time. You can do things in the last 48 hours that you cannot do before. That is why I’ve always said to people we should always start [seasons] together in Europe and that we have the same transfer deadline in Europe or it is adjusted locally to the [respective] Championship starts.  I’m happy we added two quality players at the back. We’ve added height, experience and quality.

On Chu Young Park’s qualities…

He can play up front on his own, he can play with another striker, he can play on the flank as well. He’s a very mobile player and the right age, at 25, for a striker. Overall I was very keen to  buy him because he can play the kind of football we like to to play.

On why he bought Arteta and Benayoun…

We lacked a little bit of experience there because we had lost Fabregas and Nasri. We wanted as well to bring in some technical players. With Diaby and Wilshere being out I think it was a department that numbers wise and quality wise we needed players and that’s why I did it.

On whether the new signings have boosted morale…

I believe the team is up for it. I cannot reproach this team even before [the signings]. The players were a bit down because we had lost of course against Liverpool, but they were absolutely amazing at Udinese. There was a question mark because we had lost good players and had not replaced them but the fact that we have done that will improve the mood in the camp.

It is important now to start winning. If you compare to last season, we already have one point less, compared to results against those teams last season. We must not be dramatic, but what is always good in sport is to focus on what is next. That is what we want to do.

On the team news…

We have Diaby and Wilshere (both ankle) out. Vermaelen has had his surgery, which went well. So there are three players out there. The other one who may not be available is Rosicky, who came back with a kick on his knee. We’ll see how he is tomorrow morning.

On Jack Wilshere’s injury…

He has an inflamed bone. He will be one month in a boot and we’ll see how he responds after that. We have got the best specialists in the world to assess his case because it is an unusual one. He said he felt it the first time for England against Switzerland, although he did suffer from a similar problem years ago. He thought it would go away but when he came back in pre-season it became slowly more painful again. It got to the stage at Emirates Cup where we had to stop him.

On Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott…

Kieran is back. Theo has been working hard and is fit. All the others players came back from international duty in good shape. Everyone else is available. Emmanuel Frimpong is back too.

On suspensions and other availabilities…

Santos is a bit short because he has not had competition since the Copa America. He is practicing well though. We also have Gervinho and Song suspended but it is their last game out from the Newcastle match. Jenkinson is suspended as well after two yellow cards at Manchester United. Squillaci (calf) is not back yet.

On Swansea…

They are a good side who plays good football, building out from the back. Possession wise they are very good, they are a team who plays football which is suited to the Premier League and that is why we must have a good performance.

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