By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger is a big fan of Andre Villas-Boas and sympathises with the Chelsea manager's current predicament.

The Portuguese arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer but is reportedly under pressure after a run of five defeats in nine games - including a 5-3 reverse at home to Arsenal.

Villas-Boas takes his Chelsea side to Newcastle this weekend and Wenger hopes he is given more time to prove himself.

"I have big sympathy for him," said the Frenchman. "I like him personally. I think he is intelligent, competent.

"He is like any manager would be - like I was at the start of the season - because results are not completely there. There again, you can only think that he'll get it right.

"As a man I like him. As a manager he is at the start of his career. He is at a big club. Age can be a handicap on both sides. When you are young, they say you are too young. When you are old, they say you are too old."

This week has already seen the departure of one Premier League manager after Steve Bruce was dismissed by Sunderland. Wenger believes that any club should think very carefully before making such a big call.

"It's down basically to the club to make the right decision," he said.

"There are two things that are very important inside the football club. That's to take a distance with the storm that you are facing and analyse whether the guy is competent, strong and capable to turn things around or not.

"That's not down to the manager, that's down to the people who decide at the club. I feel fortunate to be in a club where they can resist the pressure."

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2 Dec 2011