Arsene Wenger has outlined in broad terms what it takes to be a successful manager touching on the challenge of creating squad harmony, the importance of positivity and his quest to find players who are consistently motivated.
Speaking at a question and answer session with Japanese business leaders ahead of his side’s 2-1 win over Urawa Red Diamonds, the boss spoke in depth about his managerial philosophy (transcript by the Mirror’s John Cross).
“When you look at people who are successful, you will find that they aren’t the people who are motivated, but have consistency in their motivation,” said the boss when asked what he looks for in a new player.
“You have many people who start diets on the January 1. Some of them last until mid-January, some give up mid-June and some of them last. We are interested in the ones that last because that makes a successful sportsman.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean successful sportsmen are happy people, but it means they are determined and they are ready to hurt themselves to be successful, and that’s the type we are looking for – the people that are very demanding with themselves, and each other for a long time.
“That consistent motivation is applicable to football, business, anything you do in life.”
As a man who created a team who went 49 games unbeaten, Wenger’s reputation for forging success in a high-pressure environment precedes him.
Quizzed on the key ingredients of a winning team he identified key positions on the pitch before ruminating on the necessity of clear rules so that his global stars adhere to a common culture.
“You can’t have any weak positions. You need players who can make the difference. You need a team who can stop the other team from scoring goals – so a good goalkeeper and good defence – and you need to score.
“You need one guy who can pass the ball – the quarterback – to one guy who can score the goal – the receiver.
“Once you have a guy who can give passes to score, you will always have a chance to win football games. The rest is based on teamwork and attitude.
“It’s important to have clear rules and everyone knows and agrees with it.
“For example, being on time isn’t the same for a Japanese man as it is for a Frenchman – when a Frenchman arrives five minutes late, he still thinks he is on time. In Japan, when it’s five minutes before the set time he thinks he is too late.
“That means you have to create a new culture and identify how we all want to behave and create a company culture. That way, when someone steps out of line, we can say, ‘Look, my friend, that’s not what we said.’”
Of course it’s not all corporal punishment with Arsene, a man who time and again attempts to play up the positives when faced with negative headlines.
“We live in a life where everyone tells us what we don’t have. Most of the time, I remind my team and my players of the qualities they do have.
“None of us have all the qualities in life, but the good thing is that we can all be successful without having all the qualities. Players shouldn’t forget the qualities they do have.”
All very pleasant from Arsene, although Arseblog News isn’t quite sure how these pep talks went down with some of the players he’s recruited down the years.
We’ll assume the reason he doesn’t talk like this in England is that follow up questions from local hacks would likely rip the veneer from his philosophy like a scab from a grazed knee…
“So Arsene, what positives did you stress in Igor Stepanovs’ game?”