Football

Ferguson: Pressure on Wenger is ridiculous

Sir Alex Ferguson has described the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger as "ridiculous" and has questioned who they could get to replace him.

Wenger, who has been in charge of the Gunners since October 1996, is about to see his existing contract expire and has yet to reveal his plans.

Former Manchester United manager Ferguson praised the job his old rival Wenger has done at Arsenal and warned them they may find a replacement hard to come by should they let him leave.

United have struggled to sustain the stability that was the norm for so long since Ferguson left and the Scot, who was speaking at an event for the League Managers' Association, told Sky Sports: "At the moment, of course, with the ridiculous situation of the pressure Arsene is under, I just wonder if they realise the job he's done.

"The most amazing thing about him is this: He has come through a forest of criticism for months now, and has never bowed.

"He has seen it right through, he has shown a determination, a stubbornness. I think when you look at that, it's a quality, and I'm not sure they'll ever get another manager like that."

Arsenal will miss out on the Champions League for the first time in 20 years after finishing fifth.

They also finished below Tottenham Hotspur in the EPL for the first time in 22 years.

However, Fergie warns against a knee-jerk reaction.

He added: "It's quite easy to say 'Get rid of him', but who do you get? Who do you get in to keep that club the way they are for the next 20 years?

"I really feel sorry for him because I think he's shown outstanding qualities, and I think he has handled the whole situation. I don't know many that have done that."

Ferguson, who battled against Wenger's Arsenal sides to win 10 of his 13 EPL titles, questioned the short-term thinking that is creeping into football and urged clubs to plan for the long term when making their managerial decisions.

Asked if the times had gone when a manager could remain in charge for a long period of time, the Scot said: "I hope not, because I think that stability that a manager like Arsene Wenger has brought to Arsenal, and Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest, myself at United... there's no evidence that sacking a manager brings success.

"But there is evidence, through myself, Clough and Wenger, that you can gain success with long-termism." - PA SPORT

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