Wenger reveals 'love' of Manchester United

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger may be embroiled in a feud with Sir Alex Ferguson but the Arsenal manager has revealed that Manchester United were an inspiration to him when he first arrived in England.

Arsene Wenger may be embroiled in a feud with Sir Alex Ferguson but the Arsenal manager has revealed that Manchester United were an inspiration to him when he first arrived in England.

Wenger, who took over at Highbury in 1996, said that he "loved" the Manchester United team of that time, though since then the rivalry between the two clubs has become increasingly heated, culminating in last week's post-match tunnel altercation at Old Trafford.

Wenger said: "Manchester United impressed me during my early years in English football. I loved the game they played with their offensive attitude. I loved Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Seventies and Milan in the late Eighties when they had their big team. This season, I think Barçelona could be interesting to watch because of the quality of players."

Wenger also called on Fifa and Uefa to take urgent action to tackle the worsening relationships between clubs and national teams. "It is a problem that grows every year," he said. "The football bodies have to sit together to discuss this before it becomes a major crisis. There is a unity in football today but if there was a split in the camps it would harm the game and Fifa and Uefa need to intervene before that happens.

"With too many games the quality will deteriorate. We need to find a compromise that produces more attractive games for the national teams and more rest for the players."

Wenger also blasted players who make a living from football but who are not committed to the game. He said: "I cannot forgive those who don't love the game; there are a few of them in football today. There are two kinds of jobs now in professional football: there are those who want to be winners and achieve everything and those who live off football, who don't love the game enough and give no credit to football.

"For me it is not forgivable if you don't practise properly or don't respect things like time-keeping. I am lucky as I have players like Dennis Bergkamp, 35-years-old, who for nine years has never given anything less than full concentration. He provides a wonderful example to younger players."

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