Criticism of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been nothing compared to what Arsene Wenger experienced when he first arrived in England, the Arsenal boss insisted.
Former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss Guardiola arrived in the Premier League amid much fanfare in the off-season but the two-time Champions League-winning manager and his tactics have been scrutinised.
After a strong start to the season, City have struggled for form and consistency, ending a run of back-to-back defeats with a 2-0 win over Watford last time out, but Guardiola and Co. could potentially find themselves 10 points adrift of top spot depending on results on the weekend.
Wenger endured criticism of his own upon his surprise arrival from Japanese outfit Nagoya Grampus in 1996, eventually becoming a trailblazer for foreign managers in England, and the Frenchman believes it was a lot worse in the 1990s as Arsenal and City prepare to go head-to-head on Sunday.
“I should get some newspapers from when I arrived here and you will see that it’s much easier today for the foreign managers,” Wenger said.
“I would say when I arrived here it was difficult for the foreign managers. Today it difficult for the English managers. That’s what has changed.
“Have I been surprised by the criticism? Yes and no. Yes, because his CV is impeccable and no because that’s part of our game and modern life in our job.
“People really love football in this country and there’s a big passion for the game. I respect that hugely, but people also want their team to win.
“On top of that, people are impatient as well — modern society is like that.”
Of Guardiola, whose City are fourth and just one point behind third-placed Arsenal, Wenger added: “I must say he has done extremely well and he is one of the most respected managers in the game, if not the most and maybe rightly so. But every manager has a personality and can only act with his own personality.
“You cannot copy a manager, you can only be who you are, and he has been influenced at Barcelona by the [Johan] Cruyff period when he was a player.
“I think he has strong beliefs and that for me is the most important thing for a manager. You want every manager who has a positive philosophy to succeed.
“People are always resistant to radical change. They are also ready to cope with it if it is successful.
“Our job is to always accept that you want your own philosophy but at the right pace, and when you go somewhere, sometimes you have to analyse what is going on and to bring in your own philosophy at a pace where you think they can cope with it.”
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