Maybe Arsene Wenger really is mellowing as he gets older or perhaps the Arsenal manager has just not had a reason or enough time to develop a fierce rivalry with his opposite number at Manchester United yet. Whatever the reason, Wenger’s words concerning Louis van Gaal in the pre-match press conference were definitely not designed to ramp up the pressure on his rival, the exact opposite if anything.
If the Frenchman was being asked about the struggles of Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson or any of his big rivals, I think he would have been tempted to add a bit of fuel to the fire of media criticism, perhaps pointing to the massive amount of money spent by the Dutchman in the summer. But as an Arsenal.com report shows, Wenger instead supported van Gaal and suggested that the United boss has got a hard job on his hands.
He also said that unfair criticism is part and parcel of modern football. Perhaps the Arsenal boss was thinking of his own treatment by the media here, because Wenger has certainly had his fair (and unfair) share of criticism in recent years.
He said, “Today it’s like that. The rule is everyday you have to criticise somebody or you don’t sleep well overnight. Because we are in a public job, we have to accept that.
“You adapt first to your club, to your team, and after that the players who play for you are used to playing in the league. It’s less a problem of adapting to the league it’s more an adaptation to the style of play, to the quality of the players. It’s important you know well the players you have and I believe as well that Man United are in a construction because they got many new players this year.
“When I arrived here, I had a stable team who was used to playing in the Premier League. I don’t look too much at Man United – I look at my club, what we want to achieve and how I could achieve it. I leave [comments on Man United] to other people.”
Do you think Wenger was right to support LVG or did he miss a good chance to increase the pressure before going tom Old Trafford in the FA cup?