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Premier League

Wenger sympathises with Villas-Boas' plight

Arsène Wenger insisted yesterday that he had "big sympathy" for the under-pressure Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas.

"I like him personally, I think he is intelligent, competent," Wenger said. "He is like any manager would be – like I was at the start of the season – because results are not completely there. You can only think that he'll get it right."

Villas-Boas has defended his plan to change the philosophy at Chelsea to a more attack-minded one, and Wenger gave support to the Portuguese's approach. "It is not easy, no," the Arsenal manager said. "But in our job you can only survive if you do how you feel. Maybe Chelsea players are finding it hard to grasp. It is the hardest thing to change a philosophy."

Wenger also endorsed the similarly progressive tactics of Roberto Martinez, whose Wigan Athletic side host Arsenal today. "They play football because you look at the number of passes, they try to pass the ball out from the back, they try to play the Spanish way," he said.