Wenger buoyed by players and fans

September 19, 2007

Arsene Wenger watched his side ease past Sevilla in front of a packed crowd at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal's impressive start to the season continued.

While Chelsea's crowd on Tuesday against Rosenborg was around the 25,000 mark, Arsenal's Champions League opener attracted 59,992 and ended in a 3-0 win.

Cesc Fabregas' effort deflected off Julien Escude for the first-half opener, Robin van Persie doubled the lead after the break and Eduardo Da Silva completed the scoring at the death.

'I always said that I'm amazed by this club and its support - we are happy to have such support and we have a big responsibility to keep these people happy,' said Wenger.

'We try, at the moment we managed to do that. That is the real dimension of the club - the fans.

'We want more support, more fans and I hope that one day the next board will extend this stadium and build 100,000.'

Victory extended Arsenal's unbeaten start to the season which has seen them top the Premier League.

But for a Jens Lehmann blunder at Blackburn, they would have had a 100% record going into the Sevilla clash.

'Maybe it's a bit unexpected by people but to start well in the championship and against Sevilla is nearly perfect - we dropped two points but I'm pleased with our spirit and display,' added the Arsenal boss.

'We were maybe a bit lucky with the first goal but I thought we controlled the game in the second half. Maybe 3-0 is a bit flattering but when you are 2-0 up they have to come out.

'We didn't concede and looked more mature tactically than we did a year ago.'

Arsenal were in the Champions League final in 2006 and Wenger feels there is more maturity - yet there is also more to come from a side developing without Thierry Henry.

'We have to keep our feet on the ground,' he added. 'We have to improve in a lot of areas, one or two times defensively against Sevilla we weren't clean enough.'

'We have improved from two years ago without a doubt but it is the beginning of the tournament and there are two competitions in the Champions League, the groups and the knockout, and you need the best players available for the second part of it.

'The challenge of the season is to show how far we have come. The tactical strength is growing and when we were under pressure we didn't panic.'

The teams were evenly matched until Fabregas struck after 27 minutes.

Everything the Spaniard touches at the moment comes off for him and his effort struck Escude and wrongfooted Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop.

'It shows you how much confidence is a big part,' said Wenger. 'He couldn't score last year and now he can't stop. I knew it was in him.

'He looks stronger physically to resist challenges.'

Van Persie grabbed his goal just before the hour mark when he turned home Fabregas' free-kick, while Eduardo came off the bench to tap his goal home.

The only down side to the evening was Tomas Rosicky's hamstring which will rule him out for at least two weeks.

Sevilla had won the UEFA Cup for the last two seasons but found the step up difficult.

'We are playing in a very different competition, it's harder than last year and there are harder teams like Arsenal who are leading the Premier League,' said Sevilla coach Juande Ramos.

'We were a bit unlucky with the first and third goal, I don't think there was such a big difference between the teams. This is what happens, if you give them a chance they finish you off.'