Arsenal’s manager empathises with Chelsea’s Andres Villas-Boas after the recent rumour about the Portuguese being on a knife’s edge with his job at Chelsea. Wenger remembered the times when he first got to Arsenal and how difficult it is for a manager to impose his own project when he’s new to a club.
“I have big sympathy for him,” said Wenger. “I like him personally. I think he is intelligent, competent. He is like any manager would be – like I was at the start of the season – because results are not completely there.”
“It is not easy, but in our job you can only survive if you do how you feel – if you can get it through to players or not. That is what I did. So for me, it was not too difficult.”
“I was just convinced of what I wanted and I fortunate to face intelligent players. I had Steve Bould, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown – they are intelligent people, and they thought. ‘Maybe this guy is completely mad but we will try – you never know’.”
“It is hard to change a philosophy, but I believe when a manager has strong players in the squad and they share what he thinks, it makes him stronger. If they go against [him], it is difficult.”
“You can only think that he’ll get it right,” he said. “As a manager he is at the start of his career. He is at a big club. Age can be a handicap on both sides.”
“When you are young, they say you are too young. When you are old, they say, He is too old.’
“It’s down basically to the club to make the right decision.”
“That’s where the big clubs make a difference with the smaller clubs. The smaller clubs sometimes just give in, and that’s where you need a strong club.”
“I feel fortunate to be in a club where they can resist pressure.”
Chelsea is unlikely to give Villa-Boas too much time if results don’t start coming in. Ancelotti was sacked by finishing in the second position, so why should Villas-Boas be treated any differently than the Italian? Roman Abramovici is not a patient owner and the Portuguese manager should keep that in mind.