By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger thinks the media make too much of "mind games" but he'd like to be involved in this year's exchanges - because it would mean Arsenal are title contenders.
The Premier League run-in is usually accompanied by claims that certain managers have been psyched out by their rivals and this year is no different with Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini in the spotlight while the Manchester clubs compete for the title.
Wenger takes it all with a pinch of salt but he admits he misses being a part of the so-called psychological warfare.
"The newspapers always like that [mind games] but we could never measure the influence of that on the players," he said.
"I was in that situation many times - when you lose they think you lost the mind games and when you win they say you won the mind games. But I am not completely sure that it has a massive influence on the players.
"What is important is the direct environment of the team. If it unsettles them then it can have an influence. One famous example that the press always gives is Kevin Keegan [when he was Newcastle manager in 1996], so it can sometimes make a manager nervous, but Roberto Mancini looks quite calm.
"We observe it from the outside and I would prefer to be in there, because what you want is to be involved in the title race and we were not. That is basically sad. But I don't think that until now, from the mind games I have seen, it has had a direct influence on results."Copyright 2017 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