Almunia has faith in Baptista
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Manuel Almunia is backing Julio Baptista to make an impact in the Premiership.
Manuel Almunia is backing Julio Baptista to make an impact in the Premiership and hopes the Brazilian will stay at Arsenal.
Baptista is on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, with Jose Antonio Reyes having gone in the opposite direction, and the deals could become permanent in the summer.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is still assessing the merits of the attacker, who has started just three games in the Premiership and has yet to score.
But he has netted six goals in two Carling Cup appearances and Spanish keeper Almunia is confident Baptista will soon come good in the league.
"He showed that he is a good player and a good scorer, and I am sure he will show that soon in the Premier League," said Almunia of Baptista's performance against Tottenham.
"Julio is very strong and mentally strong as well.
"When he started off at Arsenal it was not very easy for him, but now he is happy here, starting to train well and is playing better.
"The only thing is he needs more chances in the league games, but with the players we have up front it is difficult to take a place in the team.
"I know that Julio wants to stay here because in Madrid he was not very happy.
"The decision is difficult because Jose is involved as well and Arsenal have to do a few things before Julio stays here.
"But Jose is happy in Spain and Julio is happy here, so that is it."