Best yet to come from Baptista - Wenger

November 29, 2006

Arsene Wenger is confident it will not be long before Arsenal see the best of Julio Baptista.

The 25-year-old Brazilian - nicknamed `The Beast' - will be rested for tonight's Barclays Premiership trip to Fulham, having only just returned from a lay-off with a hamstring problem.

The powerfully-built attacking midfielder has so far started just once in the league following his deadline-day loan move from Real Madrid, and finally opened his goalscoring account against Hamburg in the Champions League earlier this month.

Wenger, however, feels Baptista still needs time to 'adapt' to his new surroundings - and declared the player can 'make a big impact' for Arsenal.

'There is no basic problem with him. He has just got to adapt to the pace of the game,' insisted the Gunners boss.

'He has just come back from six weeks out with injury, and I feel he needs to work, maybe he will play on Saturday (against Tottenham).'

Wenger maintained: 'We have seen that before with players who came here - it always took them six months to adapt.

'I am confident he will make a big impact here.'

Wenger reiterated his intention not to make any further additions to the Arsenal playing staff when the transfer window reopens on January 1.

He said: 'For me we have a very good squad and we can play at the top of the league. It is just how much we can keep going.'

The Arsenal manager maintained: 'If this team takes off, we can kill teams by four or five goals.

'We just have to keep playing like we do, and not worry too much about the rest.

'Overall I feel the team has improved quality-wise, but just cannot transform that into results at the moment - however, it will come.'

The French coach maintained: 'I want these players to perform and this team to perform at their full potential.

'I think it is in there and it is down to me and to them to get it out.

'You must wait until the end of the season before you judge us.'

Arsenal will have Thierry Henry available again tonight, their captain having missed the defeat at Bolton on Saturday because of a neck problem.

Wenger knows his side face their 'moment of truth' in the forthcoming matches, which include Saturday's first north London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium as well as a crunch Champions League tie away to Porto and the small matter of a trip to Chelsea to round things off nicely on December 10.

The Arsenal boss declared: 'We must not hide. There is a big obstacle in front of the players. I feel they are ready to jump it - and they have a fantastic leap.

'If they are not, we have no chance to do it.'