Arsène Wenger's love for winning football matches keeps him going during the darkest days of his career.
The Frenchman has been at Arsenal for more than 16 years but he hasn't experienced many worse weeks than the past one, with defeats to Blackburn Rovers and Bayern Munich leaving his team out of the FA Cup and unlikely to progress in the Champions League.
But as ever Wenger is leading from the front as he urges his team to refocus on the Premier League and earn vital points against Aston Villa. And it's the lure of the next victory that maintain's Wenger's own drive.
If I go out now and play one against one with you, you will see that I will beat you and at least if I don’t manage to beat you, I will want to beat youArsène Wenger
"The love for the game and the love to win [motivates me]," said the manager.
"I don’t think that spark has anything to do with the length of your life. It’s just that’s how you are and you’re motivated by how much you want to win and how much you’re a winner.
"If I go out now and play one against one with you [a reporter], you will see that I will beat you and at least if I don’t manage to beat you, I will want to beat you. That will not change as long as I can move. We can organise that if you want!"
Wenger has never had to get used to losing but he was prepared to pay a price of sorts while the Club negotiated the financial implications of its move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium.
"I prepared myself for some suffering when we moved to the Emirates, yes, because we knew we were under restricted resources for a while," he said.
"The main target was to be in the Champions League because we had to pay back our stadium. Did I expect to go out against Blackburn and to lose against Bayern? Honestly, no."
With his 'spark' intact and his will to win as fierce as ever, Wenger has plenty of time left at the top. But what of his future?
"I have a contract until the end of 2014 and at the moment we are on a short-term plan," he replied. "For two reasons: because I am here for a long time and as well I have to consider what I want to do. That will be decided in 2014, not before.
Use our dedicated hashtag to join the match conversation: #AFCvAVFC
Podolski to score first @ 9/2
Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
22 Feb 2013