Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted some of his star players left the club in recent years because “they did not believe they could win the Premier League” under his command.
Wenger was responding to suggestions from former Gunners midfielder Cesc Fabregas that a lack of belief was one of the reasons for the trophy drought at the Emirates Stadium.
Fabregas said that Arsenal fell short in their hunt for a trophy during his time at the club due to a lack of self-confidence in the dressing room, while the Barcelona player also hinted that he would relish the chance to start his coaching career at the Gunners.
Wenger welcomed both of his sentiments, as he accepted that the likes of Robin van Persie left the club as they feared Arsenal were not equipped to compete for the major honours in the game.
“Some players [who left], sometimes were impatient,” Wenger said. “When they reach near 30, if they feel they cannot win the Premier League, they go somewhere where they feel they can win it.
“If we added all the players who have left, I would have a selection problem, but I still have one because I have plenty of good players now.
“Cesc was a different situation because he left Barcelona when he was 16, he is a Barcelona boy and Barcelona had the best team in the world. It was a little bit different.
“I hope he is right that he will come back one day. It shows that he has kept fond memories of this club and I am happy that players who have his intelligence and knowledge will come back some day. I will watch them from up there somewhere.”
Fabregas also suggested that Arsenal’s success in signing Mesut Ozil had changed the mindset of the club.
The Germany international, though, has been forced to deal with his first taste of criticism since his arrival after his mixed display in the Champions League defeat against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
However, Wenger has revealed that Ozil was unwell in the run-up to the game, as he offered an explanation for his performance.
“He was sick before the game and he was not at his best on the night,” Wenger said. “He said he felt alright, but in the two days before he had a virus and you could see that physically he was not at his best.
“Dortmund was organised to stop us from playing our game and one of their game plans was to stop Ozil to get in the game. They did that well. On top of that, Ozil was not at his best physically on Tuesday night.”