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Garde defends Wenger record

20 February 2013 21:32

Lyon coach Remi Garde believes Arsene Wenger is still a world-class manager and deserves more respect.

Arsenal's trophy drought looks likely to be extended to eight years after a 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, while they are facing a tough task just to finish in the top four of the English Premier League and qualify for next year's competition.

But Garde - who spent three years at Arsenal under Wenger - has hit out at critics of the 63-year-old manager and is adamant he is still the right man for the job.

"I think that Arsene Wenger is still a top-class manager," Garde said ahead of his side's Europa League round-of-32 second-leg clash at home to Tottenham on Thursday.

"He has spent so many years at this club, he has brought so much to this club.

"I can testify because I used to be one of his players. He brought so much to the club, even if he didn't win so many trophies.

"I think he deserves more respect than what he is getting at the moment. Of course we know football is a business that is judged on results, but I think he deserves more respect and he is still a world-class manager."

Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas said while his club's primary focus was to finish in the top four of the English Premier League, they will not be neglecting the Europa League.

"Obviously the ultimate objective for the club will be to qualify for the Champions League," he said.

"It is always up to the owner and the chairman to decide what is considered success. For the history of the club in the competition, if we are able to win the competition, it would be absolutely magnificent for us," he said, referring to the Europa League.

"I don't think one will put in question the other. We are able to continue doing well in both competitions. We have plenty of time to rest, and after Europa League ties we have done well in the Premier League so I think it's possible to continue approaching them in the same way."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
5 17 +15 29
6 17 -1 27
7 16 +9 26
8 17 +3 25
9 16 -4 23

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