Former captain Patrick Vieira says he’s ‘gutted’ for former boss Arsene Wenger but understands why sections of the fanbase may have lost faith with the Frenchman.
On Manchester City’s US tour Vieira, who this week announced his retirement from the game, spoke fondly of the man who brought him to England from AC Milan’s reserves.
“I am gutted for him because I know how much hard work he has put into Arsenal and how he loves the club”, he said. “‘He arrives early and leaves late and spends more time on the training ground than he does with his family. But you can understand the frustration of the fans. They are used to winning and haven’t won anything for six years. For a big club like Arsenal it is difficult to go a season without winning a trophy”.
And Vieira believes the balance between good football and the physicality required for the Premier League is not right, saying “I honestly believe that the Arsenal team now are playing better then we ever did. The difference is we put silverware on the sideboard. That is what people remember, not how you play.
“Our team was more physical and responded better to the English game. Maybe now Arsenal lack the physical aspect. You need a balance to win trophies. If you look at United, Chelsea and City, the physical aspect of the game is there. The season is really long and hard and players get tired and perhaps need to work harder”.
Vieira, whose last kick as an Arsenal player was to score the penalty which won Arsenal’s last trophy, the 2005 FA Cup, will continue at Manchester City as a ‘development executive’. He has still to complete any of his coaching badges and perhaps in the future Arsenal fans will see him return home when the time is right.