The Gunners came through a tough test in their midweek Champions League qualifier to record a 2-0 away victory against Sparta Prague.

It was a physical encounter at the AXA Stadium, which saw midfielder Cesc Fabregas involved in a clash with former West Ham defender Tomas Repka, who had talked up using rough-house tactics during the pre-match build-up.

Wenger praised the way his men coped with the conditions of a partisan atmosphere.

The Gunners boss believes such experiences can only stand them in good stead for the challenges ahead over the next nine months.

Their Premier League campaign opened with a late victory over Fulham, courtesy of a last-minute goal from Alexander Hleb, who also netted a similar well-timed effort in Prague.

The domestic schedule continues at Ewood Park on Sunday, the match put back because of Rovers' own midweek European commitments in the UEFA Cup.

There is certainly no love lost between the two teams.

Brazilian midfielder Gilberto - not yet back in the squad after an extended rest - was sent off as 10-man Arsenal recorded a 2-0 away win during January, while there was a heated exchange between Fabregas and Rovers boss Mark Hughes following the goalless FA Cup tie at Emirates Stadium a month later.

Wenger, however, played down notions the former Manchester United and Wales striker would be sending his team out with a game plan of unsettling the Gunners.

"I have never been in a room when another manager has instructed their team, so I do not know what they say to their players," Wenger reflected.

"I do not know how he [Hughes] approaches the game.

"We will go there and try to play our game. I do not worry about how they approach the game too much."

The Arsenal boss, though, accepted: "It will be a committed battle at Blackburn, but you expect that.

"We have to be patient, resilient and do what we did until now. We have to believe in ourselves and allow our football to express itself. We have to play as we want to play.

"We have matured, we have a great togetherness, we fight for each other and you could see that the other night again.

"The team has grown together and matured together.

"You understand some qualities are more important when you get a bit older.

"When you are younger you are a little bit obsessed by your own performance. When you get more mature you understand that different ingredients are needed to focus on and that is what we have learned."

Wenger is hoping for a strong performance from the referee on Sunday, with Alan Wiley scheduled to take charge at Ewood Park.

"There is a rulebook to protect the players, I do not go to any game with any preconceived ideas," said the Gunners boss.

"I said last year we are the team who made less fouls than anybody else in the league, so we cannot say that Arsenal kick people.

"The referee has to protect the players when a team tries to see how far they can go."

One aspect of this new, "mature" Arsenal which pleases their manager is the ability to remain calm as often in the past tempers have boiled over when on the end of gamesmanship from the opposition.

"We had a few players cautioned at Sparta and I told them it was important not to get a second yellow," said the French coach.

"If the provocation goes on you have to keep your calm - and that is a very important quality. At the top level you need the right mix of focus and being relaxed.

"Focus can bring tension, but it is like playing golf - to hit the ball you have to focus, but relax."

The Arsenal boss added: "I believe we are mature enough to be title winners, but the competition is very high.

"Everybody has written us off before the championship started and we want to show everybody we have a good chance to do it - but we have only played one game. We will learn more in 20 games."

Meanwhile, Wenger revealed a decision over his contract, which runs out at the end of the season would be made "very, very soon".