Robert Pires says he’s hopeful that Arsenal can go all the way to the finish line in the Premier League, but has warned that the upcoming schedule is going to be a ‘nightmare’.
In an interview with French Football Weekly, the former midfielder spoke about his desire to see Arsenal do well, but with games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, they’ll be really tested.
Arseblog News has an exclusive snippet of the interview which will be published over the next two days – if you’ve missed part 1, it’s here.
Pires on this season’s Arsenal:
Today’s Arsenal team, do you think that they can win the Premier League?
They can – and I certainly hope so! I wish that for Arsène Wenger, because he’s been at the club for a long time and he’s won nothing since 2005. But today he’s had a great start, he’s got a great team. But it won’t be easy. The quality is definitely there. But the squad is not as large as Man City’s. But we’re now the end of January and they’re still first, so they have a good chance. But beware (touches wood), let’s see if we’re saying that in one month. Because February is going to be a nightmare for Arsenal. Ouh la la! Liverpool twice – FA Cup and league. Man United and Bayern Munich. Four matches. It will be a big test.
On young players and a lack of respect:
If you want to learn and to become part of the group, it clear that you respect the older players.
In the past. In your time, or in my time. Maybe it’s also a question of education. What I remember is that the first time I went to Clairefontaine, I arrived at the canteen, I waited outside to see first where everyone sat. So that I didn’t take someone else’s place. That’s called respect. It’s as simple as that. And once there were spaces free, then I could take a seat. And the same for the bus. I was practically the last to get on. And I took one of the seats that were left.
It was natural, it was normal. When I arrived at Arsenal, just imagine if I took Tony Adams’ place? No! Tony Adams is Tony Adams! He merits respect, he’s a senior player. So I wait, that’s how it is. Even though I’m world champion, European champion. Here, I’m at my club, it’s no longer the same. Now I’m in my Arsenal shirt. Tony Adams doesn’t care about the France team. You see what I mean? Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, David Seaman. No! [in English] “Wait!” You wait. It’s not complicated.
And on what Arsene Wenger taught him:
What did Wenger do for your career, and how? Did he give you advice, did he build up your self-confidence?
Yes, both. What is great with Arsène Wenger, it’s that when you have strengths, he makes you work on them. He doesn’t want to work on your weaknesses. If you have faults, you have faults. But if you have qualities, he wants to work on making them perfect. And that’s what he wanted from me, two qualities, speed and dribbling. So I worked enormously on those two areas, and it was important for me, of course. As for how he is – the relationship is simple. When you are on the pitch, he leaves you to it. He lets you do whatever you like. That’s when you have the trust of the coach, and I earned that. I gained his trust, and then you’re a free man on the pitch.