Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed he holds a similar passion towards football to that of Manchester United management great Sir Alex Ferguson as he prepares to eclipse the Scot's 810-game record on Sunday.
The Frenchman will take charge of his 811th Premier League clash when the Gunners travel to West Bromwich Albion this weekend, rather fittingly the place of the ex-Red Devils chief's final outing during his side's 5-5 draw which closed the north west club's most recent title winning campaign back in 2013.
Arsene Wenger on the bench at Blackburn for his 1st @premierleague match in October 1996. Today at @WBA he breaks Sir Alex Ferguson's record by taking charge of @Arsenal for PL game number 811. #WBAARS with @jimbeglin on a TV near you pic.twitter.com/uhib8Q64vR— Jon Champion (@JonChampionJC) December 31, 2017
As the 68-year-old prepares for what seems to be a landmark that may never be reached again due to the current English top-flight managerial trigger-happy climate, he revealed that he has not spoken to his former dugout nemesis, but has likened himself to Ferguson, even if his trophy cabinet is sparse in comparison.
“I have not been on the phone with [Sir Alex], we had other things to do!” Wenger told Arsenal's official website.
“I saw that he was at the Manchester United game this week, but it is always a pleasure to meet each other now.
People are right, there is no comparison between Arsène Wenger & Alex Ferguson— Chris (@TheArsenalChris) December 29, 2017
Average league position: AW 2.8, Ferg 2.85 ✅
FA Cups: AW 7, Ferg 5 ✅
Unbeaten season: AW ✅
Completed the Double in a game at Old Trafford: AW ✅
Win % after 1,000 games each: AW 57.2% Ferg 56.3% ✅ pic.twitter.com/H9g0j7wjdN
“We don’t compete anymore and it was always a big rivalry of course, but overall I believe that we tried to have a positive attitude towards the game and to get our teams to play in a positive way.
“We have a similar passion, different personalities of course, but I respect and admire Ferguson for what he has done and for his high desire to win. That is why it is an achievement to have lasted for such a long time, similar to what he has done.”