Arsene Wenger acknowledges that he can be portrayed as being naive, but he describes himself as “a facilitator of what is beautiful in man.”
Wenger’s refusal to abandon his principles has attracted both admiration and ire during his reign as Arsenal manager, but the Frenchman’s belief in the way his sides should play shows no sign of wavering.
In an interview with L’Equipe’s Sport and Style magazine, which was accompanied by a fashion shoot, Wenger was asked if he has a ‘mythical power’ over his players when preparing them for a match.
“Religiously, it is said that God created man,” Wenger said. “I am only a guide. I allow others to express what they have in them. I have not created anything. I am a facilitator of what is beautiful in man.
“I define myself as an optimist. My constant battle in this business is to get out there what is beautiful in man. We can at this level portray me as naive. At the same time, it allows me to believe it and it often gives me reason.”
— Paul Dawes (@dawesy2801) November 6, 2015
Wenger is approaching 7000 days as Arsenal manager, having been appointed on September 30, 1996, but longevity and past achievements mean little for the Frenchman while he remains in charge.
“For me, it represents nothing other than the fact of practicing a profession exclusively facing forward. Look to the next day,” he said.
“I still live in the future. It is planned. Tight. My relationship with time is quite scary. I’m still trying to fight it. I’m always afraid of being late. Not to be ready. Not being able to accomplish all that I planned. My personal relationship with time is scary. To go back in time, to look behind yourself is equally staggering.
“The only moment of possible happiness, is the present. The past gives regrets. And future uncertainties. Man quickly realised this and created the religion. It forgives him what he has done wrong in the past and tells him not to worry about the future, as you will go to paradise.”
Wenger also revealed that he no longer reads a passage from the Bible before games as he did when a player.
“Unfortunately today, it works less! At the same time, fortunately, it means that my team does not necessarily need God to win.”
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