Football Football

Usmanov: Wenger is not learning


WENGER-HEADACHELONDON, November 24- Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov believes the principles of Arsene Wenger is getting in the way of the club challenging for domestic and European honours.

Wenger’s future has been brought into question once again after his side dropped 15 points off the pace set by Premier League leaders Chelsea with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday.

The north Londoners have consistently failed to seriously challenge for the league title or UEFA Champions League glory for a number of seasons, although they did finally manage to end a 10-year trophy drought with the FA Cup back in May.

Usmanov cast further doubt over the Frenchman’s tenure in the capital by claiming the manager has failed to admit to his mistakes, which is costing the club dearly in their quest for silverware.

The Russian billionaire said in an interview with CNBC: “Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest coaches not just of European but of world football. But we have a Russian proverb which goes: ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her.’

“Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept one’s mistakes. Maybe it’s a problem today.

“I like Arsene for his principles, but principles are a sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities. That’s why sometimes coaches even without principles became the coaches of great teams and some coaches with principles lose because some positions in the team are vacant because of ethical, moral or personal views.

“Does he have money or not? There is officially money in the club. How does he spend [it]? This decision investors have left with him. I wish them victories, because their victories are the victories of investors, including myself, and of great Arsenal fans, which deserve these victories.

“My opinion – and I tell it openly – we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in [the] UK as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real [Madrid], Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern [Munich] and other clubs.”

Usmanov added: “The potential of the team is there, but there is no critical evaluation of own mistakes and their admittance. Not a single genius can retain its level when he does not admit [his] own mistakes. Only when you admit your mistakes do you get rid of them.

“I wish this to my club. Nothing wrong, but we just repeat [the] same results year by year. Quite high to secure the place in the Champions League, but we regularly lose in the first circles of playoffs. As an investor I am not happy with that.”