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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Valdano confident Mourinho will deliver

Real Madrid general manager Jorge Valdano insists he has been happy to sit back and let Jose Mourinho take sole charge of team affairs at the Bernabeu recently and predicted the former Inter Milan boss will provide the club with "many glorious afternoons''.

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Valdano and Mourinho have endured a seemingly fractious relationship since the Portuguese arrived at Real last summer, with hostilities between the two at times barely concealed.

Mourinho demands more control than most coaches in Spain and that has necessitated Valdano taking a step back. But the former Argentina international denied the situation had made his life difficult.

"I have always felt comfortable at Real Madrid,'' he told the club's official website. "My role is more of an institutional one now compared to before and my job entails matters that are not only related to sports.

"I said I would distance myself from the team following the Copa del Rey match against Sevilla and I have done just that.

"Mourinho is the leader of a team that continues improving from a football standpoint and I am sure it will bring us many glorious afternoons. He feels protected by the club and feels more comfortable every day, as he himself recently stated.

"That goal has been accomplished and that is what it is all about, being that he is an important person within the club. The team is more competitive each day.''

Valdano also stated his relationship with president Florentino Perez remains as strong as ever.

"I have a close relationship with Florentino Perez,'' he said. "I have a lot of faith in him and I feel comfortable and secure. He has not changed as a person.

"He continues thinking big and continues loving this club. He is very demanding and he lays out the strategy. He knows exactly what Real Madrid members want and time has proven him right.''

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