Marseille win could aid Premier League form, says Wenger

The Gunners boss insists that another win in Europe can only improve his players' confidence and claims that a new-found defensive resolve is key to this season's improvement
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that a win against Marseille in Tuesday’s Champions League meeting can help add to his side’s growing momentum on the domestic front.

The north Londoners go into Tuesday's encounter knowing that they could end the night having qualified for the knockout stages if all results go in their favour, and Wenger insists that fine form across all competitions can only have a positive effect on his players’ confidence.

"I always think to win helps," he told reporters. "The confidence of the team is vital, in the Premier League the differences are so small that the confidence can make a difference.

"We are in November, you are not in a calculating mode, we are at the moment just showing that we are a strong team, and let's improve.

"We have still a lot of room for improvement and that's what is at stake for us, to become a stronger team from game to game."

The Frenchman went on to praise his side’s fine start to the season following Saturday’s victory over Southampton, and believes that the Premier League-leaders’ current position is as much down to his players’ mentality as their ability.

"I would say the recent history, the recent results of the team have been good," he continued. "These results are of course linked with quality, but also linked with the quality of attitude of the players.

"It is always difficult to know if you win because the players have a good attitude or do the players have a good attitude because you win?

"I think you win when the players have a good approach to the game and that is what we have. The confidence is linked with the recent results."

The Arsenal boss was also keen to commend the growing resilience of his side's defence. It is an area of his team that has come in for regular criticism in recent seasons but, Wenger believes, is finally developing into a reliable unit that can cope with pressure.

"We're better, we have a lot more defensive maturity particularly," he said. "We have also been able to overcome more difficult times during matches.

"I think we're perhaps not playing that well because opponents are more organised against us. I think it's important to play our game even if opponents are well-organised."

Wenger also made sure to dispel any ideas that his team were failing to control matches on the grounds that their traditionally dominant possession statistics had dropped in recent weeks.

"Against Southampton they had a lot of ball possession but in their own half of the field and very little in our final third, so it's an illusion, these possession statistics," he said.

"The right balance in ball possession is progression and you can see it in Tottenham and Manchester City, where Tottenham actually had more ball possession."