Welcome to Wednesday on TremendArse. So both Champions League semi-finals rest on a knife-edge following the first-legs, after Manchester City played out a goal-less draw against a Ronaldo-less Real Madrid last night before Saul Niguez bagged a wonderful solo goal as Atletico Madrid beat Bayern Munich earlier this evening.
An all-Madrid final for the second time in three years may now be the most likely outcome, but I’d quite like to see City v Bayern, purely for the drama of Pep Guardiola’s last game in charge of the Bavarians having to be against his soon-to-be employers – and in what is the biggest game in club football. Awkwaaaaaard.
But back to us and Arsene Wenger has spoken at length to the May edition of Arsenal Magazine, explaining why he is ‘frustrated’ by his team’s failure to secure the league title in the last coupe of seasons. He said:
What’s quite frustrating for me is that I feel in the last two years, we have moved the game forward in a modern way of managing the team and the club. Maybe we have not been immediately rewarded in the championship, but we feel we are moving the club the right way. We always want to learn and to move forward, together. That’s one of the principles of the club. We want to be together but we want to move forward.
The irony that we’ve more-or-less stayed stationary in terms of Premier and Champions League finishes for over a decade can’t be lost on the manager, but to be fair to our increasingly-beleaguered boss, the club have clearly improved in other areas such as medical staff, youth recruitment and Academy structure etc etc.
Arsene also discussed his desire to keep the Arsenal fan-base satisfied and defended his team’s expansive style, saying he believes he is obligated as a manager to strive for an entertaining style-of-play. He said:
I always think that the respect for the fans comes when you have the desire as a coach to give them something on a Saturday afternoon that makes them happy. I believe that fans should always be able to wake up on a Saturday morning and their first thought should be, ‘Yes my team is playing to day, it could be great. Unfortunately we do not always manage to give them that, but at the least we should have the desire to do that. I also believe that the positive idea of a football club is to have a desire for style. If big clubs don’t have that, then I think something is missing. Throughout the history of the game, the big club sides and the big national teams always had that desire. Whether it is Brazil, or the big teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid. And I think Arsenal has a positive reputation on that front. The big English teams – Liverpool, Man United and so on – always had that as well. It is basically an obligation for you as a coach.
And finally, Arsene touched on why he thinks the ‘real respect’ for his work as a manager comes from helping players fulfill their potential, saying:
I want to help the players to achieve the best of what they can in their career. At the end of the day, we are not responsible for the talent we each have, but we are responsible for what we do with our talent. The respect I have for people is when you look back and say ‘This guy had nothing much more left within him than what he achieved.’ I would like that I am the guy today who helps the players to achieve all that they can achieve – to fulfill their potential. That’s where the real respect comes from – when you feel people have fulfilled their potential. When you think people have used 60 or 70 percent of their talent, even when they are very talented, there is something missing there that makes you think, ‘No my friend, you are wrong.’