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Aug, 14, 2009

Wenger admits to seeing what he didn't see

Supporters for years have scoffed at Arsene Wenger's claims that he has not seen controversial incidents, and now the Arsenal boss has finally admitted that he does see most things but tries to protect his players by avoiding the need to comment upon them.

Speaking ahead of the opening game of the season at Everton on Saturday, which is live on ESPN in the UK, Wenger admitted that loyalty to his players is far more important than answering questions from the media in full.

Asked if he had ever been economical with the truth, the Frenchman said: "Yes, because you are thinking, 'Why has he (a player) done that?' and you know you cannot explain it.

"At times I saw it, and I said I didn't to protect the player, because I could not find any rational explanation to defend him.

"This is a job where you have to have an optimistic view of human nature or you become paranoid. You always have to think that a guy wants to do well.

"A coach is there to help. He must think that if he helps in the correct way the players will respond. You cannot be suspicious.''

Wenger also insisted he could not have taken charge of Real Madrid in the summer, believing he must complete the job of rebuilding his Arsenal side. They have now gone four years without a trophy.

"I want to go to the end of my job here. I built this team, I want to deliver with this team and I feel that if I left I would in some way have betrayed my beliefs,'' he told The Times.

"It is nothing to do with what Real Madrid have done. I just couldn't see leaving this team at this stage of their development.

"I believe in working in our job, creating connections between the players. I believe in what makes football great,'' Wenger said.

"It is a team sport, a collective sport. You can win because you are more a team, or because you have more individual talent. What is interesting for me is the team ethic. I love Davis Cup, but I am not a big fan of individual tennis. It is when sport is about the team that I like it. I like the Ryder Cup.''

"The worst is to have no target. Imagine you get up in the morning and you do nothing. You enjoy one minute. Then there is another minute. But what do you do next? Can you dedicate your whole life to this? Somewhere within us is the desire to feel that we are useful and that we have some quality.

"Sir Bobby Robson just died. Did you see the last game he watched (at St James' Park)? Just a charity game, but still he had that spark in his eye.

"He could have sat at home, yet he chose to go there. He had two, three days to live and that is where he wanted to be. Yet what would he have done at home - sat there and thought about dying, maybe terrified? The way to get through was to enjoy his passion.''

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