Arsenal takes on Leicester City over the weekend and manager Arsene Wenger was kind in his words about the opposing coach.
Wenger spoke about Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri and praised him for the job he did while he was in charge at Chelsea, saying that he laid the groundwork for Jose Mourinho’s success after he took over at Stamford Bridge.
“When Claudio left Chelsea he had built the team that was so successful at the start,” Wenger told The Guardian. “I remember them finishing second in the league with Ranieri and the team was upcoming with young players like John Terry and Frank Lampard, who were the players that contributed to the success of Chelsea.”
Wenger also answered a general question posed about the fixation with results in today’s soccer world.
“Because the very thing that makes sport beautiful is winning while respecting the rules,” Wenger said. “If you can do whatever you feel like, it’s no longer a sport, it’s just a street fight. There is an increasing view that only the result counts and it doesn’t matter how you get it. That’s a stance that sometimes puts you in a situation that can be difficult to maintain. It’s important that the spirit of sport wins out too.”
He also spoke about his Chilean star Alexis Sanchez, who has had a poor start to the season. Sanchez was coming off a long season, winning the Copa America with Chile during the summer, and Wenger admitted he rushed Sanchez back into the lineup at the start of the season.
“I think I played him very early before he was completely fit, physically, that is one explanation,” Wenger said. “The second is that every player who has won a big trophy with the national team takes some while to settle and come back to his best.”