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Wenger: I have huge respect for Van Gaal

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 Manchester United's head coach Louis van Gaal waves to fans before their English Premiership league soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, Britain 12 September 2015. PHOTO/AFP

Manchester United’s head coach Louis van Gaal waves to fans before their English Premiership league soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, Britain 12 September 2015. PHOTO/AFP

LONDON, December 23- Arsene Wenger has blasted media speculation surrounding Louis van Gaal as disrespectful.

The Arsenal manager said on Wednesday that he has “huge respect” for Van Gaal, his Manchester United counterpart, and the Dutchman’s previous success.

And Wenger refused to answer questions about the future of Van Gaal amid speculation United could be lining up a move to replace him with Jose Mourinho, who was recently sacked by Chelsea.

“I do not want to go into a world of speculation,” said Wenger.

“I personally have a huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful.

“This guy has worked for 30 years in football and has delivered unbelievable quality of work. I think it is a bit disrespectful what is going on there.

“I think a lot has been made on that (Mourinho’s departure), and I do not need to add anything.

“I do not want anyone to lose their job, my personal feelings on that front is that it is always sad when someone loses their job.”

It is not just Van Gaal, but Manuel Pallegrini at Manchester City is rumoured to be under threat, with Spaniard Pep Guardiola touted as a possible successor when he leaves Bayern Munich at the end of the season.

And while Wenger said he would welcome Guardiola in the Premier League, he said it was unfair for managers to announce in advance their future plans.

“Yes, I would welcome (him) to the competition,” said Wenger.

“Personally I don’t like the fact that the managers come out so early for what they will do, because it’s not necessarily good for their own team, nor for the speculation about the managers who are going through a little bit of a difficult patch.

“I think he is of course a top-quality manager, nobody would dispute that. Not so much for what he has won already, because Bayern won before, Barcelona still wins today.

“But I think about the positive attitude he has towards the game and the fact he wants his team to play football in a positive way. I respect that highly.”

Arsenal, who beat third-placed Manchester City 2-1 on Monday, travel to Southampton on Saturday where victory would take them top of the Premier League if Leicester City fail to win at Liverpool.

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