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Frenchman admits he feels sorry for his managerial counterpart, who has suffered mixed fortunes since arriving in England from Porto in the summer, but thinks he'll turn it round

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he feels some sympathy for Andre Villas-Boas, who has come under early pressure since joining Chelsea in the summer.

Wenger's own position came under scrutiny earlier this season after the Gunners endured a torrid start to the campaign, but he has since turned the club's fortunes round, and says Villas-Boas is struggling to change the philosophy at Stamford Bridge.

“I have big sympathy for him," Wenger was quoted as saying by The Mirror.

"I like him personally. I think he is intelligent, competent. He is like any manager would be - like I was at the start of the season - because results are not completely there.

“It is not easy, but in our job you can only survive if you do how you feel - if you can get it through to players or not. That is what I did [when I arrived at Arsenal in 1996]. So for me, it was not too difficult.

“I was just convinced of what I wanted and fortunate to face intelligent players. I had Steve Bould, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown - they are intelligent people, and they thought. 'Maybe this guy is completely mad but we will try - you never know'.

“It is hard to change a philosophy, but I believe when a manager has strong players in the squad and they share what he thinks, it makes him stronger. If they go against [him], it is difficult.”

Villas-Boas is just 34 and often sees this fact brought up when things are not going his way. But Wenger has urged Chelsea to stick with the Portuguese rookie.

“You can only think that he’ll get it right,” he said.

"As a manager he is at the start of his career. He is at a big club. Age can be a handicap on both sides.

"When you are young, they say you are too young. When you are old, they say, He is too old.'

“It’s down basically to the club to make the right decision.

"That’s where the big clubs make a difference with the smaller clubs. The smaller clubs sometimes just give in, and that’s where you need a strong club.

"I feel fortunate to be in a club where they can resist pressure.”


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