Quotes of the Day: Wenger on Arsenal for the title and Jack Wilshere’s health; Pelligrini on Man City’s lust for Pep; Rodgers on learning lessons from Stoke City; Mourinho on the power of foreign giants.
Arsène Wenger on Arsenal’s Title Chances
I believe we are able to handle it and we want to handle it. We had much more pressure before when I knew I had at least to be in the top four and we did not necessarily have the potential to do it. The pressure is really on you when you know you are just on the border of achieving what is absolutely requested, when you know you cannot miss an inch or you are out. That is much more difficult.
On Jack Wilshere’s Injury
Look, this is not an ankle injury, it’s a bone injury. His ankle is perfectly all right. What I call an ankle injury is a ligament or a joint injury. You can’t play without going freely in the challenge. And Jack’s game is to provoke with the ball at his feet and go and penetrate. You take that away you change the player and you take one of his biggest strengths. Sometimes, because he has a good little burst, he uses that well to get out. But sometimes it is a game that provokes more challenges than Gilberto Silva, who sat deep, or Mesut Özil who plays less dribbling.
Brendan Rodgers On Liverpool’s 6-1 Thrashing At Stoke (The Times)
When the fixture came out I thought we couldn’t have had a better one. I’m really looking forward to it… The club has given me incredible backing in my time here. There have been a lot of changes on and off the field. You can never take your position here for granted, and you certainly can never be complacent. The owners have given me great trust since I have been in here and, in the main, I have had a great response from the players. At the end of that game, it closed off what was a disappointing season. I suppose it is about how you judge, really. If you look at my second season here, we nearly win the league. If you judge me on that, maybe I deserve a bit more time. If you judge me on budget, we are in the top five, and we finished sixth and we end up disappointed.
Maybe it might be different. But the owners have put big trust in me from the first day that I came in here. I have confidence in how I work. It certainly didn’t take away from my beliefs, but it sharpened that I needed to refocus and how we could take the club forward.
Manuel Pelligrini on Pep
Every team will want Pep Guardiola to manage them, because he’s a great manager. He’s linked with this team more because of the connection he has with Txiki and Ferran. But I trust in them, and I am sure if they want to bring in Pep, they will tell me.
Jose Mourinho On Chelsea’s Allure (Daily Telegraph)
I think there are only three clubs in the world who have the power to say, ‘I don’t sell’. This is Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Is anyone in England interested in Thomas Müller? For sure. Can we, England, bring Thomas Müller from Bayern? I don’t think so.
Does anyone want [Lionel] Messi? Can you bring him? I don’t think so. They are big clubs with big history, economically strong and stable, income amazing. I think they sell when they want to sell. When you see a player leave one of these big clubs you have to think it’s because they want him to go. That’s my feeling. [I’m] speaking about the ones who make the world stop. Big transfers. When does Messi leave Barcelona? When he finishes his career.
The way is to bring players like [Sergio] Agüero when Man City bought him or [Eden] Hazard when Chelsea bought him. Try to be lucky and have an Alexis [Sánchez] that is not playing regularly in Barcelona. [Cesc] Fabregas is similar to Alexis, not playing regularly. Arrive at a moment where these top players really want to leave and they force it a little bit.
Liverpool Chairman Tom Werner On Rodgers
First of all, we take a long-term view on these matters. We believed in Brendan when he won Manager of the Year for 2013/14. That was only a year earlier when he was awarded that compliment. I think our track record demonstrates that our approach and attitude is very much focused on stability. We have demonstrated that both on and off the pitch. We do believe Brendan is the right man for Liverpool and the right man to take the club forward. When we hired Brendan we wanted to see improvement. Hopefully when we have a conversation in a year’s time he will have demonstrated and the squad will have demonstrated that we’ve regained top form again.