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Keeping Real's slim title hopes alive

Real Madrid

Wenger praise for 'focused' Bould

Arsene Wenger has praised "focused and intelligent" assistant Steve Bould, who will take charge of Arsenal in Montpellier as Wenger begins a three-match touchline ban.

Bould, who replaced the retiring Pat Rice in the Emirates Stadium set-up, has been praised for his contribution to a solid start to the season that has seen the Gunners concede only one goal in four games so far.

Wenger said the former Arsenal defender - a mainstay of George Graham's famously frugal back four - was "doing his job well".

He added: "I have always said many of our older players from his generation can be managers. That is not down to me to choose that, so it is up to him - but there is no reason why not.

"I have seen many strong personalities, but the ones who succeed are those who make decisions under pressure. Steve has those qualities. Everyone has his own personality, and I chose Steve because I felt he would add something to our team."

However, he stressed that not much had changed in the way Arsenal players were prepared for games, explaining: "I build the training sessions, and it will remain like that.

"I have been coaching for 30 years, so am not going to change things because Steve Bould arrived in August - but he does a great job.''

Wenger said what was most important was that everyone - coaches and players - was convinced of Arsenal's style of play and that had played a part in the recruitment of Bould. "That's why I choose, as wel,l people who have worked with us before and are convinced by what we do," he said.

Wenger spoke of his frustration at the touchline ban, imposed after he confronted Slovenian referee Damir Skomina after the Gunners had played AC Milan at the Emirates last season, losing 4-3 on aggregate, and claimed UEFA "love" to suspend him.

He said he would feel "powerless" on the touchline in France, and said: "Sometimes have that feeling on the bench anyway.

"We talk about all the possibilities before the game - if we defend or if we attack, if a player makes this run or that run - and go through all the solutions. An element of the unexpected can happen, but Steve has experience."

Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny has voiced his backing for Bould, telling Arsenal Player: "Steve does a good job with the team. For me it is good to have a coach like that because he knows my position.

"For the team it is a help for us - for set-pieces, motivation. He finds the words to help the guys so it is good for the team. He knows the Premier League and he knows the Champions League. I think it will be okay with him in the dressing room. He talks with everybody and he knows what we want."


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