Arsene Wenger held his regular pre-match conference this morning. The Arsenal boss was in an excellent mood as he celebrated his twentieth anniversary at the club. Wenger was given a special award to commemorate his achievement and then the Frenchman gave out some awards of his own to the members of the press gathered at the conference. The Gunners boss then sat down to answer their questions on everything from team news to the last twenty years at the club. As always we have the conference in full (via Arsenal.com).
Match: Burnley v Arsenal
Stadium: Turf Moor
Kick Off (GMT): Sun 2 Oct 16:30
What has helped you the most to last this long?
My resilience and passion and certainly the faith of the board to stand by me. I believe this club is great and that’s one of the values of the club, we have shown over the years. I believe this club is brave, we have shown over the years that we can have a good togetherness here which is why we kept our feet on the ground and always fight together.
Yes in recent games, we have combined style and efficiency and we want to continue that we know that comes this quality and in the recent games against Chelsea and Basel we managed to do both.
Giroud will be out, he will not come back and Coquelin is looking much better than expected, we had a test today but I still think he will be short for Sunday.
Coquelin return quicker than expected
Much quicker. His medial ligament was not damaged as we thought, he’s keen to start again, he had a session yesterday, we have to be cautious as well.
We have plenty of games coming up. For us now we work in cycles of three. Week by week we play three games.
Aaron Ramsey is out of the Wales squad but should be available after the international break.
Do you dislike all the fuss [of the anniversary]?
It’s not dislike, I think what I’ve learned in my job is to focus on the next game is the most important. It can disturb a little bit the concentration for the next game.
Impressed By 20 Years
First of all because it’s very unusual certainly in the modern world. Now the world wants to see new faces but I think stability is very important as well in companies and the values people carry through the generations. It’s not always the manager who has this identity and the privilege I’ve had to carry these values is of course very unusual in the modern game.
You’re not ruling out a 25th anniversary?
I rule nothing out because I want to work and I want to do well but I accept as well that it can finish tomorrow, it’s a love story and a love story you expect to last forever but it can stop any day.
I think Walcott has added something to his game. First by big resolution before the season started by putting a big effort into his preparation and he transfers that now into the game. When he plays like that I understand why the fans love him because I do as well.
What the fans want is total commitment. You can understand you cannot score two or three goals in every game. As long as he has this kind of attitude they will love him.
Would you take the England job?
My priority is to do well here, it’s always been my club. If I am free one day why not but my focus is here?
Significance of the last week
It looks like we have moved forward in the quality of our game. It’s down to we have found a good balance between attacking and defending. Our drive is to always go forward. The team has more belief in the way we want to do things but we have to take care of that and keep the focus very high.
Record against promoted sides
I believe that to go into the game is the same commitment, the same focus as the recent games. The danger from Burnley comes from the fact that they are very efficient in some aspects of the game. They are very well organised defensively, they don’t concede many goals at home, they showed that against Liverpool and Watford, they are very dangerous on set pieces and from counter attacks. We have to prepare well.
African Players at Arsenal
They’ve had a massive impact on my career yes because I have always used African players since I started in the big leagues. At Monaco I had always African players. I like the fact that they are very creative, hugely offensive players with imagination, with pace and power, they combine usually well strength and agility and that’s very difficult to find. Overall I think they are usually passionate people, there is a big passion in Africa for the game. They are usually very happy on the football pitch and that’s something fantastic for us.
Who was the most outstanding amongst the African players?
Kanu had a massive impact here. Kolo Toure, I had George Weah I gave a start, he had a massive impact.
Last 20 years
I don’t know I think it’s a privilege. I do not look back, maybe what people will keep is the invincible year maybe. For me the job of a manager is to do the maximum with the team you have available and that’s what I try to do. You do one step after another and when you look back you have distance. You are always obsessed with the next game and that’s what you expect always, the perfect game in the next game, what you work for
What do you want to achieve here?
I want to win absolutely everything and play the perfect game in every single game that’s my dream, for the fans to enjoy what they see and for the players to enjoy what they do.
He was at the game against Chelsea. He was in a board meeting, yes [he congratulated me]
Will anyone else last 20 years?
I hope so, it’s not necessarily you need to be unstable. You look at the evolution of the numbers it’s worrying. The life expectancy of a manager in England now is less than 18 months so that’s not very promising.
Does the club’s affection for you affect your decision to stay?
Yes of course. But what will influence me the most is the fact if I feel whether I do well and I can move this team forward.
Do you still plan to make the decision at the end of the season?