Antonio Conte Defends Arsene Wenger’s ‘Top Four’ Ambition

Antonio Conte says that Arsene Wenger should not be criticised for his work at Arsenal – especially in recent years – amidst plenty of mounting pressure on the Frenchman.


Wenger has transformed the club as a whole, but there have been plenty of calls for the manager to leave the club at the end of the season. Wenger has especially faced a lot of criticism after his team were hammered 10-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League over two legs. Conte, however, says that Wenger has shown plenty of resilience and quality to keep Arsenal in the Champions League consistently over the last 20 years.

He says that it is one of the biggest achievements of the manager, as it is becoming increasingly hard in order to qualify for the Champions League every year. Only the top four teams are eligible to qualify for the competition. Liverpool and Manchester United have certainly learned in recent years that it is not easy to finish in the top four by any means.

Conte says that the increased quality of the Premier league compared to other leagues mean that finishing in the top four alone is a major achievement. Since 2004, Arsenal have lifted only two FA Cup titles. There have been numerous disappointments for Wenger along the way.

Conte is on the verge of winning the league title in his first season in English football. “It’s not an easy moment for Wenger, but we are talking about a great manager. I think that, in 20 years at Arsenal, he did very well. He worked a lot. Every year Arsenal stay in the Champions League. Now, I think, this could also be a good target because, in England, it’s not easy. You have to fight, this season, with six teams,” said the Chelsea manager, whose team has a 16 point advantage over Arsenal.