Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Wenger's criticisms

Arsène Wenger has hit out at Mark Hughes over his position on Adebayorgate:
“I played football and I know exactly, in a fraction of a second, where you leave in or move out. You know exactly at that fraction, I can injure somebody or I can not injure somebody, and you ease off or you leave in. I have seen some challenges where if you do that in the street, you go to jail. It [the challenge on Van Persie] looks very bad. You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes.”
On a basic level he's right. Mark Hughes' public position on Adebayor is heterodox to say the least. The proportion of people who agree with him is probably less than the 1% level Wenger attributes. And, in so far as we can interpret Adebayor's intentions, Hughes is probably wrong. The more times you see the stamp on van Persie the more intentional it appears. I'd be surprised if Hughes has only seen it once.

But. This is criticism is at best curious, at worst ludicrous, coming from Arsène Wenger. This is a man who never publicly acknowledges the misdeeds of his players, who always falls into the '1%' who does not see or does not condemn some offence by an Arsenal player. Don't get me wrong: I love Wenger. I'm a fan of his on Facebook and everything. But it betrays a surprising lack of self-knowledge for him to fail to recognise this.

The fact is that almost all managers say things they know to be false in public in order to defend their players. Sir Alex Ferguson said it best recently regarding the Eduardo ban:

"You become insular and protective of your own player and own team, we're all selfish that way.

"I would have been saying 'what about all the rest of the players?'.

"But I wouldn't have been pleased if my player had done that.

"I wouldn't say it publicly though, because when you do that you're in danger of losing the morale of the dressing room.

"Privately, as I've done many times, you have a different view, but I wouldn't do it publicly."

Bringing this back to Adebayor, I hope that Hughes has a different position in private than his public one, and I hope he has made it clear to Manu.

1 comment:

ChrisR said...

There's actually more than the simple defending players and 'I did not see eet' in terms of Wengers hypocrisy as well. Todays Telegraph also points out that in the run-up to Eduardo's diving charge, Wenger stated that video just cannot show intent. Oh how a week can change his tune eh?