Pre-Tottenham Managerial Wisdom
Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Arsène’s pre-match press conference contained the usual wit and wisdom. His public persona is that which you would expect of him; upbeat, positive and caustic. Yet it is also something which it is also a stick that is used by his critics to beat him. Wenger, we are told, should be chastising the players; he’s too soft. I can’t escape the feeling that some would only be happy if he were to arrive for any public occasion in sackcloth and ashes, whilst self-flagellating to try and atone for his sins.
An insight into how this mindset affects him was contained in a small nugget from his press conference,
No matter what we say at the moment it will be printed in a negative way. So it is up to us to transform that in a positive way.
The only way to do so is to win on a consistent basis, starting on Sunday. God forbid a defeat and the meltdown which would surely follow. It has been a long enough week leading into this game as it is; another week with increased stressed levels and a definite need for a red alert to all medical facilities worldwide will be required to cope with the spontaenous combustion or stress-induced illnesses that would surely follow.
Putting the task into perspective, he bagan by observing,
You can’t complain – we are in a fantastic job and we have a big game in front of us. To feel sorry for ourselves would be criminal. We have a good opportunity to show that we have character, that we have the mental qualities to play for this Club and so let’s go for it.
It is as close to the up and ‘at em speech that so many wish he would make every game. Whether the players would respond is another matter. It does however, prove to be irksome when we are continually told that players don’t try at all. It is a vacuous argument and one that has no substance to it. A player may run out of hope, steam, effort when chasing a forlorn cause; that is a natural reaction in anyone in similar circumstances.
I understand that the root cause is that people believe players are overpaid, to the detriment of others who should receive more. I know it is driven by belief that the player is useless (in the critics opinion) and probably underpinned by some envy over the staggering sums that players earn. But it’s wrong; no player wearing an Arsenal shirt should ever enter the pitch beaten, drained of effort or energy. And in that sense I think it entirely wrong to claim such, to denigrate efforts in that way.
The manager is trying to put the season into distinct segments for the players. Each compartment contains a competition with sole hope that poor form in two will not impact on the third. His charges had just about got themselves sorted out in the Premier League following what can be at best described as an inauspicious start to 2012. The knockout competitions put paid to that. Arsène is putting them into the past,
We had disappointing results, especially in Milan. The Sunderland game was a bit unfortunate for two reasons: we played three away games on difficult pitches and the game was positioned on an impossible day for us after coming back from Milan. We lost a game against a team with zero shots on target, we scored two own goals…In the championship we have drawn 0-0 at Bolton and beat Blackburn with a good score. Let’s continue our run.
Certainly that seems to be the case. The usual rumours abound that van Persie is waiting to see if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League before deciding over his contract. Talks, we are informed, have not begun. If the player has stated that he is waiting until May or beyond, to assert that he is awaiting the outcome of the season is stating the obvious. The Dutchman himself believes now is a good time for the match to come along, to motivate the players.
The last word on that goes to the manager,
Every game is massive now until the end of the season, but it is exciting. What is terrible is to play a game of no importance. What is important is that we enjoy it and come out with a good performance.
I doubt anyone would disagree with that. At least he avoided calling each game a cup final.