Arsene Wenger on Arsenal’s Lionel Messi, leader Per Mertesacker and accepting criticism
Written by Jeffrey on September 27, 2011 4:45
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the season for the Gunners started almost 15 days after it actually started, at the end of the summer transfer window.
Speaking to the Club’s official website, the Frenchman explained that only after the end of the transfer window he had a full squad at his disposal as he explained that the players paid a heavy price for the Champions League play-off against Italian side Udinese as it was a demanding game that affected the fitness level of his quad.
Taking responsibility for negative results, the Arsenal boss is determined not to give up despite a very negative start to the season as he was full of praise for defender Per Mertesacker and striker Robin van Persie who against Bolton scored his 99th and 100th goal for the Club.
According to Wenger, the Dutchman is positional-wise similar to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, a very intelligent player who likes to drop deep to get the ball and start the move.
After the Bolton game, the manager said:
Our season started basically two weeks ago after the August 31 transfer deadline and I believe as well we paid a heavy price to knock Udinese out of the Champions League – that was very demanding for us.
After that I feel this is the first time we have had a united squad together. We are conscious that there is a long way to go for us and Saturday’s game is a little start.
Now it will be down to consistency. But I would like to say on today that Per Mertesacker is looking stronger and stronger and that he is calm, intelligent and shows me that he can lead our defence.
I never complained about the criticism I had, I can completely understand. I am responsible for the results, I take that and I say that always.
When you sack your manager you have to look for somebody else and he will lose games too. After a while it is not so easy to find managers.
I can tell you because I know so many clubs who look for people and I can understand why we get the sack. But you look at clubs who change their manager every six months, they do not go further.
Robin [van Persie] has matured from the boy who was a little bit emotionally impulsive when he arrived to the guy he is today.
It was difficult to predict but he is intelligent, he speaks his mind and you can talk to him as well. He takes advice and overall he has developed very well.
I think he has a combination of leadership on the pitch. He is technically a super-talent, certainly, and you gain respect from the others. Now he has added the second part, that means speaking his mind. It means you get a kind of credit.
I see similarities, positional-wise, with Messi. He likes to come deep and he likes to turn up, up front. Don’t make me make a comparison with Messi but it is just that positional-wise he is not really like the real centre forward.
When you look at his movement around the box it is very intelligent because he goes on the diagonal runs very well.
He has a short backlift for his size and I always thought that because his first touch is so good in a small space he can make a difference.