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Arsene Wenger confesses that his ‘biggest mistake’ was staying at Arsenal for 22 years as he opens up on his obsessive management style

Arsene Wenger has opened up on his 22 years as manager of Arsenal, his coaching philosophy and even his love of Bob Marley in a wide-ranging interview with broadcaster RTL.

And the Frenchman made the shock admission that his ‘biggest mistake’ was to remain in charge of the Gunners for so long.

Wenger finally left his post at the Emirates Stadium in the summer after a tenure spanning two decades, three Premier League title triumphs, seven FA Cups wins and an unbeaten season in 2003-04.

But the 68-year-old, who admits he doesn’t know what his next career move will be, confessed he may have stayed in the job a little too long.’I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.’

Wenger also opened up about the enormous sacrifices he made in his life to keep Arsenal competing at the top of the Premier League.

Triumphs, seven FA Cups wins and an unbeaten season in 2003-04.

But the 68-year-old, who admits he doesn’t know what his next career move will be, confessed he may have stayed in the job a little too long.

Asked by interviewer Christine Kelly what his biggest mistake was, Wenger replied: ‘Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years. I’m someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge.

‘I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.’

Wenger also opened up about the enormous sacrifices he made in his life to keep Arsenal competing at the top of the Premier League.

He said: ‘I regret having sacrificed everything I did because I realise I’ve hurt a lot of people around me. I’ve neglected a lot of people. I’ve neglected my family, I’ve neglected many close ones.

‘Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things. But it’s a bone to chase at the same time.

‘Often, I’m asked if Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will be good managers and I always answer ‘yes’.

‘They have all the qualities; they’re intelligent, they know football, they have excellent skill set, but do they want to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed. It’s an obsession which bounces around your head day and night.

‘You wake up at 3am thinking about team selection, tactics, formation…’

Wenger offered little clue as to what his next step may be, saying: ‘I’m asking myself the same question! Do I keep doing what I’ve been doing, what I know.

‘Or do I share all the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years in a slightly different way? That’s the question I need to answer in the next few months.’

If there was one moment you could remove from your life?

All the defeats.

There haven’t been many…

More than you think, each is a scar for life. Each will forever be a great disappointment.

What would be your ultimate fantasy object to have?

I don’t really have one, maybe the team playing with the harmonious excellence all teams sometimes reach but for a full game.
Everyone playing on the exact same wavelength for a whole match, it’s so rare. These moments make the job worth suffering.

And what if you told us your biggest mistake?

Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years. I’m someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge. I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.

ajay
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