Villas-Boas praises opposite number Wenger as 'one of the greatest ever'


Arsène Wenger may not welcome kind words from the Tottenham Hotspur manager on the eve of a north London derby but Andre Villas-Boas has, nonetheless, expressed his admiration for his opposite number and warned the dissenters at the Emirates Stadium to be careful what they wish for.

Wenger has faced growing criticism from those sections of the Arsenal support who see no end to a seven-year wait for silverware and who fail to share the manager's view that Champions League qualification should be viewed in the same terms as a trophy.

Those frustrations were audible during last weekend's 3-3 draw against Fulham, when Wenger's side squandered a two-goal lead for the second successive game. The Arsenal manager conceded his team has looked too fragile too often this season – they have won just one of their last seven games – and Villas-Boas admitted Spurs will seek to exploit the Gunners' anxiety.

The Tottenham manager will, of course, be more than happy to capitalise on any friction and uncertainty at the Emirates but, taking a longer view, he believes Arsenal's interests would be best served by keeping Wenger at the helm. "It's the nature of humans," Villas-Boas said. "When you are in one place you always are willing for a change or prepared to change to something positive. When change happens, you see what you were missing at first. I don't know if that will be the case or not. I certainly feel he [Wenger] has delivered what Arsenal want for the last few years and continues to be one of the great managers.

"Last year was the same. He has raised the expectations by being a winner in the past and what people expect from Arsenal, and what Arsenal fans expect, is seeing trophies and seeing them back where Wenger put them in the past. Certainly he might be paying the price for the expectations that he rose. But I think he continues to be one of the greatest managers of all time and continues to have success."

With Tottenham having lost three of their last four Premier League games, Villas-Boas faces his own doubters. He saw promising signs, though, in last Sunday's defeat at Manchester City and with Fulham having demonstrated the value of playing on the front foot at the Emirates, is hoping to take advantage of Arsenal's current problems.

"You try [to exploit a nervous crowd]," he said. "You saw that at Man City when we scored and up to the moment they equalised… but as soon as they equalised the environment turned. You can benefit from the buzz that's around people."

Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk