By Richard Clarke

Gael Clichy believes that passion, pure and simple, is the reason behind Arsène Wenger's longevity at Arsenal.

The 59-year-old will become the Club's longest-serving manager on Thursday. It will be exactly 13 years since he began his tenure in north London, overtaking George Allison's spell between 1934 and 1947.

Clichy has been around for just under half that time. Like many at the Club, he owes his career to Wenger and understandably he paid a fulsome tribute to this milestone.

"It is incredible," he said after the win over Olympiacos. "That shows you the class of the manager.

"In 13 years he has had a lot of success. We cannot say this win was a gift for him but we showed the fans and him too that the players want to do something this year.

"The passion he puts into the game shows through. At training, he is the first to arrive and the last to leave. For me he is one of the best managers in Europe.

"I don't really know if he is a father-figure, but I have been here for six years and it would be strange for me to play under someone else. You want to learn from him and give him back that confidence. We are the players we are today because of him."

Clichy's career at Arsenal is typical of many under Wenger. He arrived as a relatively unknown youngster, bided his time and developed into a superb technical footballer. Now 24, the full back believes it is time for the players to repay that faith in silverware.

"He brought us here and we have all been playing together for four or five years, so of course we have faith in him," said Clichy. "In the last few years, we haven't won anything and people have talked bad about him. But we have to think about what he has done for the Club.

"He has been here 13 years and I think Arsenal is today one of the best clubs in Europe. For me a big part of that is because of the boss. We have to give him credit.

"In football you always want to be the best and win trophies so when you don't have the results everyone wants, people start to talk. But you have to realise Arsenal is Arsenal because of him. I think we just have to support him.

"The players want to play for him and win something for him so I think it is going to be a great season for us."

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1 Oct 2009