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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 13, 2008

Wenger: The pressure is on Arsenal to perform

Arsene Wenger accepts the pressure is all on Arsenal to deliver a performance when they look to put one foot in the lucrative group stages of the Champions League with a positive result against FC Twente in Arnhem tonight.

The Gunners are missing several first-teamers for the trip to Holland - including Cesc Fabregas - so Wales Under-21 international Aaron Ramsey is set to feature in midfield for a dream full debut against the Dutch outfit, who are now coached by former England manager Steve McClaren.

Wenger has been forced to field a young side - which will also include 20-year-old Denilson with Swiss defender Johan Djourou, 21, partnering captain William Gallas because Kolo Toure has aggravated a muscle in his hip - but he has every confidence they can deliver.

'That is part of being at a big club - the pressure of expectation is always very high,' he said.

'It's a big day with a big meaning for us because the target is very high - to be in the Champions League.

'You know that when you come to Holland you get a good game always no matter where you play and a tough one - and we know as well that demands a lot of respect and concentration to do as well as we can.'

Wenger has been impressed by the pre-season performances of Ramsey, whose last game for Cardiff was the FA Cup final at Wembley before his £5million switch to Emirates Stadium.

The Arsenal manager sees no reason why Ramsey - who could have joined Manchester United instead of the Gunners - should not take tonight's occasion in his stride.

'If you are a good football player you are a good football player whether it's in the Champions League or in another game,' he said.

'When you have the ball you make an intelligent decision.

'If you play against your friends on the beach or in a big game it's exactly the same - if you are a good player you are a good player.'

Wenger, however, maintained 'patience' was the key to Ramsey's continued progression.

'In England we have always to calm things down because after one month of games there is always the media pressure to make quick stars,' he said.

'Players are young and patient development does not mean you cannot start early - but it is most important to keep developing as a player and that you don't have to worry about too much pressure on your shoulders.'

Despite McClaren having parted from the England job under a cloud of disappointment following defeat to Croatia which ended the Euro 2008 dream on a wet November night at Wembley, Wenger believes the former Middlesbrough coach will benefit from a fresh start in the Netherlands.

'I think it was a good move, he maybe needed to get a change from England,' said Wenger.

'To position yourself as an international coach is always a very good move for the rest of your career.

'It is a little bit similar to what Sir Bobby Robson did when he moved out of the England job.'

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