Arsène Wenger cannot believe he is on the cusp of reaching 1,000 games at Arsenal - but says he has learnt something from every single one.
The Frenchman’s first match at the Club was at Blackburn Rovers on October 12, 1996 and he has gone on to oversee 998 more in his 17 years as manager.
He will reach four figures in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Chelsea, and while he is aware of the landmark he insists his focus is on claiming the three points.
Your only interest is the next game, our drug is the next game, the hope for the next game, the desire to win the next oneArsène Wenger
“It makes you feel 'where did the time go?'” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “It looks to me like I started yesterday, I can't believe it is such a long time.
“Why? Because you're always focused on looking forward to the next game and when you look back you think I made quite a distance there. Despite that, your only interest is the next game, our drug is the next game, the hope for the next game, the desire to win the next one.
“You go step by step and finally when you look back it's a long time. I would just like to say for me it's an honour to manage a club of this dimension for such a long time and I would like to thank everybody who is involved in the Club for giving me such a confidence for such a long time.”
“You learn from every game,” added Wenger. “You learn more from the lost games than the games won. Certainly because you go into deeper analysis, you question yourself more, you question the players more and you learn basically the most from the higher the level goes up, the more you see the limitations of your team and your players.
“You learn the most in the biggest games when the pressure is there, when the talent is against you and when the pace of the game is at the top, top level. This is where you learn.”
Wenger did, however, allow himself to reflect on his favourite match from his 999 in charge at Arsenal, and two stand out in particular.
“Maybe the Barcelona game on the Champions League night [in 2011], maybe winning the first title against Everton, which was so important,” he said. “I hope that the next game will be my favourite game.”