Ferguson hails Wenger impact

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Arsenal owe a huge debt of gratitude to old foe Arsene Wenger.

Wenger this week became the longest-serving boss in Arsenal's history and most of his 13 years in north London have been spent going head to head with Ferguson for the game's major prizes.

While there have been plenty of confrontations between the pair down the years, a thaw in relations has taken place in recent times to the extent that they appeared together at a lavish question-and-answer session at Wembley last season.

Although he avoided discussion over whether Wenger had brought the best out of him, Ferguson feels the statement is particularly true of Arsenal.

"Arsene has brought the best out of Arsenal," he said.

"Since he has gone there, the success of the club has been fantastic.

"He sticks to what he believes in - and so do his players.

"That is why he has been there so long. I read some quotes from his players the other day that sum up the situation pretty well. They owe everything to him. That is nice to read."

Red Devils boss for 23 years himself, Ferguson feels Wenger's success at Arsenal proves his own theory that if clubs stand by their own decisions and give managers time, they will eventually be rewarded.

"If you look at Brian Clough, myself and Arsene, it proves longevity brings rewards," said Ferguson.

"His team play the right way and he has a stadium that is full every week.

"He has been an incredible manager for that football club. There is no question about that."