Thursday 26 April 2018

Alex Ferguson lauds Gunners boss Arsene Wenger for not bending to critics' will

Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson
Arsene Wenger and Alex Ferguson
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Man Utd boss Alex Ferguson has hailed his old rival Arsene Wenger as one of the “outstanding coaches” in the game, after insisting the Arsenal manager should not listen to the criticism that has mounted around him in recent months.

Wenger came under fire from a vocal selection of Arsenal supporters as his side failed to sustain their push for the Premier League title, with a second place finish behind Leicester viewed as a failure by many of their critics.

Yet Ferguson insists Wenger deserves to be respected for his longevity in the game, as he gave his views in the official Champions League final programme.

“He has been fantastic,” stated Ferguson, as he spoke about Wenger.

“Now he gets a lot of criticism, but I admire that you’re not going to bend to the will of the critics. He stays with what he believes in. And I think people who do that are outstanding coaches.

“When you talk about consistency, Arsene’s never changed the way that his side has played.”

Ferguson and Wenger clashed repeatedly following the latter’s arrival in English football in 1996, but it is evident from these words that the Scot is now a firm admirer of the French tactician who will celebrate his 20th anniversary in charge of Arsenal later this year.

“I think he inherited a team when he first came to Arsenal with Steve Bould and Martin Keown and Tony Adams - fantastic warriors - but his team evolved when they started getting players like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Emmanuel Petit and Sylvain Wiltord,” added Ferguson.

“There was a change in the culture of the team. They became a magnificent team. Arsene has never changed in the type of player he wants or the sort of play he wants.

“It’s always about penetration from runners off the ball, good passes into angles for the strikers.”

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