Antonio Conte warns Arsenal fans over Arsene Wenger criticism

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Arsene Wenger has famously failed to get on with a certain Chelsea manager in the past but it seems the Frenchman has a big fan in Antonio Conte.

The Italian became the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge this summer and will come up against Wenger for the first time in his managerial career on Saturday evening.

Games between Arsenal and Chelsea appeared to be played out on the sidelines when Mourinho was in charge with the two manager's regularly exchanging heated words during the 90 minutes.

But there will be nothing but mutual respect in the dugouts at the Emirates with Conte admitting he is a firm admirer of his Premier League title rival.

The former Juventus and Italy manager was happy to wax lyrical about Wenger and told his critics they were making a "big mistake" if they thought he wasn't doing a good job with the Gunners.

Wenger has come in for plenty of criticism in the last few years after failing to win a Premier League title since 2004, most notably last season when Arsenal finished second to Leicester City.

Conte, however, says Wenger's success with the club goes beyond just silverware and has told fans eager to see him leave to be careful what they wish for.

'Doing a good job'

"I think Wenger is doing a good job. But it is normal that when you fight for the title every year, the fans want you to win it [at least once]," he said.

"But I would say that every year to stay up there [in the top four] it is not easy. I think Wenger is doing a good job with young players and when you see Arsenal, you can see good football.

"You must look to your manager who works every day, I think you must value him for his job, for his work. If you judge a manager only on whether he wins or loses, you make a big mistake.

"He has a great reputation and I played against him, but I was a footballer [not a manager] and it was fantastic. I remember the game in Turin against Arsenal - we won 1-0 and got to the next stage of the Champions League."

Easy for Pep

But Conte was less complimentary about another one of his Premier League rivals, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Asked why the Spaniard had got off to a flying start and he hadn't, Conte said: "I think that Manchester City are playing similar football to what they played in the past. You have to see what type of tactical situation you find [yourself facing when you arrive in the job].

"That [quickly adapting to the Premier League] is because the directors of football [Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano] are Spanish and they bought a lot of players who are used to this idea of football and these tactics. I think it is a bit easier for his players to get his ideas."

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Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Theo Walcott
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