Arsene Wenger has every sympathy for what under-fire Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is trying to achieve at Chelsea - and accepted some of his players thought the Frenchman's own approach was "mad" when he first came to Arsenal.

Villas-Boas, 34, was only appointed in the summer but has seen his position come in for severe scrutiny following a slump in form, which has left them outside the Barclays Premier League top four, in danger of not qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League and culminated in the midweek Carling Cup quarter-final defeat by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Wenger may now be a fully paid-up member of the English football establishment, but the former Monaco and Grampus Eight manager knows from his own experiences that it did not happen overnight, and said: "I have big sympathy for Villas-Boas. I like him personally. I think he is intelligent, competent. You can only think that he will get it right."

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