Antonio Conte has urged critics of Arsene Wenger to remember the Arsenal manager’s achievements at the club following a difficult week for the Frenchman.
Arsenal suffered a 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday and the Gunners have lost three of their last five games in all competitions, including a 3-1 reverse against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Speculation over Wenger’s future at Arsenal has mounted in the wake of his side’s poor form, but Conte gave the 67-year-old – whose side trail Premier League leaders Chelsea by 10 points – his backing.
“I have great respect for him as a manager and man,” said Conte. “He has done a great job for 20 years and is doing a great job in the present.
“When you are the coach in the great team you are under pressure. He is a really good manager, one of the best in the world.
“His team is very strong. There are times results are no good, but don’t forget the work the coach has done in the past.”
As his side prepared to face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup, Conte also expressed his disappointment at Mark Clattenburg’s decision to quit the Premier League and become Saudi Arabia’s new head of referees.
Clattenburg was criticised by Conte during the Italian’s time in charge of Juventus, with his decisions during the Bianconeri’s 0-0 Europa League draw against Benfica prompting a tirade against the referee in 2014.
Conte nevertheless described Clattenburg as one of the Premier League’s best referees, saying: “It is a pity because he is really good. It is a pity he wants to go and do this choice.