1,000-game Wenger insists he’s still learning trade


1,000-game Wenger insists he’s still learning trade

The 64-year-old Frenchman, appointed in late September 1996, will reach the personal landmark at Chelsea tomorrow lunchtime, when the Gunners will be out to close up to within a point of the Barclays Premier League leaders.

Wenger, who has yet to sign an extension to his contract which runs out this summer, has seen and done it all since arriving at Highbury as a relative unknown coach some 17 seasons ago, but the Frenchman insists the desire to better himself burns as fierce as ever.

“You learn from every game,” Wenger said on Arsenal Player.

“You learn more from the lost games than the games won. Certainly because you go into deeper analysis, you question yourself more, you question the players more and you learn basically the most from the higher the level goes up, the more you see the limitations of your team and your players.

“You learn the most in the biggest games when the pressure is there, when the talent is against you and when the pace of the game is at the top, top level. This is where you learn.”

There is genuine belief 2014 could finally be the year Arsenal are able to end their trophy drought, which is now fast approaching a decade, with an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan next month. Wenger, though, does not intend to allow himself much time for nostalgia, with a special presentation understood to be planned for training on Friday as he aims to keep Arsenal in the title hunt.

“It makes you feel ‘where did the time go?’. It looks to me like I started yesterday, I can’t believe it is such a long time,” the Gunners boss said.

“Why? Because you’re always focused on looking forward to the next game and when you look back you think ’I made quite a distance there’.

“Despite that, your only interest is the next game, our drug is the next game, the hope for the next game, the desire to win the next one. You go step by step and finally when you look back it’s a long time.

Former France international Robert Pires was part of Wenger’s all-conquering ‘Invincibles’ team which won the 2003/04 league title undefeated.The 40-year-old, who is training at Arsenal’s Hertfordshire base to maintain fitness levels, would view the opportunity to work alongside Wenger once again as “a dream”.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Pires said: “Coaching with Wenger is a good opportunity to learn. In the future you never know.”

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox