Wenger: My players are experienced
Arsene Wenger is in no doubt his young Arsenal side are way ahead of their time, if yet to take that testing final step to become champions.
The Gunners host Manchester United tomorrow facing up to a sixth successive season without silverware following a run of just one victory in their last seven Premier League games.
The campaign, though, had once again promised so much before unravelling in a matter of weeks following a shock Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City at the end of February.
Wenger, however, remains adamant the squad are on the cusp of greatness. "The team has accumulated a lot of experience despite their age. They are 23 on average now, but football-wise are 26 or 27," the Arsenal manager said.
"I gave them a chance to play at a young age and I don't regret it. Maybe I could have got some more experienced players, but it is too easy to say that."
Squad needs new strength
"They are very close. We need to strengthen some areas, but we have the quality," he said. "At the moment we have to face some scepticism, but we have to keep believing in our strengths. These players all started at a very young age and they should be ready."
Wenger, though, would not be drawn on his potential summer transfer targets, when some experienced heads are expected to be added to help get the youngsters over the line in 2011/2012.
"At the moment I do not want to focus too much on what we miss. We need to focus on what we have and there is no need to add any negatives to our situation," he said. "Let's finish our season with pride and we will try to add to our team what we can."
Wenger's 'toughest' season yet
Wenger turns 62 later this year and admits he is "not an office man" when suggestions were raised he may look to move upstairs to a director of football role at the club when his current deal expires in June 2014.
The French coach, however, accepts he has endured the most difficult season of his tenure. "It is certainly the year when I have worked the hardest, and for the team it has been the toughest," he said.
"But over the last five years this has been the highest quality we have produced. We have battled on all fronts and have produced quality, we just couldn't finish the job."