Wenger says Chelsea must show 'moral leadership'

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger has called on Chelsea to show some "moral leadership" and to make their direction as a club known to everyone in the wake of their punishment by Uefa.

Arsene Wenger has called on Chelsea to show some "moral leadership" and to make their direction as a club known to everyone in the wake of their punishment by Uefa.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, has received a touchline ban and fine from the European football authorities, while other staff from the west London club have been fined as well for their part in unfounded allegations made after a Champions' League match in Barcelona in February.

Chelsea are also under investigation by the Premier League for their role in the alleged "tapping-up" of Arsenal's full-back Ashley Cole.

Therefore now is the time, Wenger believes, for the Premiership leaders to make it clear where they stand.

The Arsenal manager said: "I do not want to take anything away from Chelsea and what they have achieved on the pitch because they have been efficient and hungry.

"But I still feel that with what happens on the field, every club has its values. I would like to hear a voice at Chelsea come out and say what they really want to do, what they want to be in England and how they want to behave.

"Whether it's Peter Kenyon [the chief executive], Roman Abramovich [the owner], or Mourinho, I just feel it needs one voice coming out of the club. I don't know how they want to behave and where they want to go. Some moral leadership is what I'm saying.

"At the moment they miss that voice. I think it's important for English football. They will be a leading club in the coming years.

"I have made mistakes and [Sir Alex] Ferguson has done too, but where is the voice coming out from the club afterwards? Sometimes the manager or sometimes the chairman shows the way and the values and how they want to behave. At the moment that has not come out from Chelsea.

"Football is about values and those are on the pitch as well as off it. Sometimes as managers we have to be reminded what we are about and what way the club wants to go."

Wenger cited his own club's bad behaviour in the infamous draw at Old Trafford in September 2003 and subsequent punishments as being what motivated the Gunners to take the moral high ground.

"After the Old Trafford match in September 2003 we drew a line under that and moved on because it mattered to Arsenal and people who love football," he said.

"Every club, like every football federation, has a code of conduct and it's important everybody knows where you want to go.

"I think it would be helpful if Abramovich spoke up. That's what I call the voice. He is just a little bit powerful. I think it's important for English football and the Premier League that we know where he wants to go and where he wants to take the club." Part of Mourinho's punishment is a touchline ban for both legs of their Champions' League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, but Wenger believes that will not unduly harm the club's prospects for progress.

He said: "It is frustrating for the manager to be away from the touchline more than it is harming for the team. But I don't feel it really harms the chances of the team.

"And no one can stop you from talking to someone. We live in the modern world. It is a little bit artificial. They cannot stop Mourinho from talking to someone in his own club who can phone down to the dressing-room and do what he wants. What can Uefa do about that?"

Ahead of today's game against Norwich City, when he will start Gilberto Silva for the first time since mid-September, Wenger admitted there were fears that the Brazilian midfielder might have been forced to retire through injury.

He said: "We had to consider that possibility [of retirement] at some stage because of where his fracture was on his back. It was very unusual and surgery would have meant locking a part of his back that he needed to keep flexible."