At their press conferences the experienced managers such as Rafa Benitez and Antonio Conte are often asked about certain news stories going on in the media and what they think about them.
Yesterday in Rafa’s press conference for the game at home to Aston Villa on Monday night, he was asked about Arsene Wenger’s situation at Arsenal, after they were taken apart 5-1 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last Wednesday.
Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger in early October, 2013
Rafa was Napoli manager
Arsenal won 2-0
Wenger is coming under increasing criticism from the Gunners fans as they seems to be out of the league title chase and now almost out of Europe, although they play at Sutton United in the 5th round of the FA Cup on Monday.
This is what Benitez said in his press conference as seen on nufcTV yesterday when asked about Wenger:
“It is difficult for me because I know Arsene Wenger really well.”
“I think he’s a great manager and a great person. He’s given a lot of things to English football.”
“When they criticize a manager who has lost, as a fellow manager you always have sympathy.”
“We are still talking about a great manager.” “He will do well because he has the experience to do it.”
And Arsene himself has given his press conference for Monday’s game at Sutton and he was asked about his future.
This is what the Arsenal manager said, as reported in the Chronicle:
“No matter what happens I will manage for another season. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, that is for sure.”
“If I said March or April it is because I didn’t know.” “I do not want to come back on that.”
“I am used to the criticism. I think in life it’s important to do what you think is right and all the rest is judgement.”
“I am in a public job and I have to accept that, but I have to behave with my values.”
Chelsea’s impressive manager Antonio Conte also showed some real class yesterday and said Arsene was still one of the world’s best managers – and that had great respect for him as both a manager and a man – not unlike Rafa’s comments.
This is what the Italian said yesterday:
“I have great respect for Arsene Wenger as a manager and a man,”
“He has done and is doing a good job with Arsenal over the past 20 years.”
“When you are the coach of a great team, you are under pressure at all times.”
“Arsene Wenger is a great manager, one of the best in the world.”
To have a record like Wenger has at Arsenal and be criticized the way he has been seems unfair.
But that’s the way is it these days, but in decades to come people will look back on Wenger as one of Arsenal’s greatest ever managers along with the likes of the great Herbert Chapman.
What he has done for Arsenal over the last 20 years will definitely get the credit the Frenchman’s work deserves.