Will Jens Lehmann’s return to Arsenal make a difference? Robert Pires and Gilberto Silva are convinced it will. Sky Sports caught up with his old team-mates to find out why…
Arsene Wenger has already suggested that the return of Jens Lehmann as Arsenal’s new first-team coach can help institute a winning mentality among the team and that’s a view shared by his former Gunners team-mates.
Robert Pires and Gilberto Silva played alongside Lehmann in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ – the team who went through the entire 2003/04 Premier League season without defeat – and they both expect the German’s demanding attitude to rub off on the players.
Pires spent three years at Arsenal with Lehmann and sees him as the man to bring discipline. “It is good news,” he tells Sky Sports. “I’m very pleased for Jens, he’s a good guy and a good professional. He can help the goalkeepers but not only them, the rest of the squad as well.
“You need to have a competitive side and Jens has always had that. He’s a great professional. He’s a German too, so he has his own rules. Sometimes he is very strict, but you need to have discipline in the dressing room and Jens is the man to bring that.”
Gilberto Silva arrived Arsenal in 2002 and was joined by Lehmann the following year, going on to spend a further five seasons alongside the goalkeeper. The Brazilian midfielder shares the view that this is a positive change for the Gunners.
“I am very pleased for Jens and for the club,” he tells Sky Sports. “He is a very professional person and a guy who is passionate for the game. I am sure it will be very important for the club to have him around because he is the kind of person who pushes the other guys when he sees something that is not right. The way he does things is in a very positive way.
“Maybe sometimes people saw him do things in the past and had a different interpretation of things but the way he was with us, sometimes we laughed. But in the end, we knew he was doing it for the benefit of the team. Sometimes you must have someone like this.”
Gilberto Silva has dabbled with managerial roles himself, having briefly served as technical director at Panathinaikos last year. So would he be tempted to return in a similar position? “Maybe it is a possibility for me to work as a technical director again in the future,” he adds.
“At the moment, since leaving that role at Panathinaikos I am just taking a break from football, enjoying my family and working on my own business in Brazil. But it would be nice to be involved in football again somehow.”
Pires, of course, has maintained his bond with Arsenal. It’s one that remains. “I still have a great relationship with Arsenal – especially with Arsene Wenger – so that’s why I’m still training with the first team to keep fit,” he says. “This is my team. I love Arsenal. I believe in the team. The most important thing is to be positive.”
With Lehmann back, a more positive attitude at Arsenal seems inevitable.Euro Soccer Bonus
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