By Chris Harris 

Arsène Wenger believes that his 18-month spell with Nagoya Grampus Eight helped shape him into the manager he is today. 

Sandwiched between a seven-year stint with Monaco and his record-breaking 13-year reign at Arsenal, Wenger’s Japanese sojourn looks relatively insignificant.

According to the Frenchman, that could not be further from the truth.

Predictably, Wenger was a success on the pitch in Japan, guiding Nagoya to the 1995 Emperor’s Cup and the runners-up spot in the J-League. And his Asian adventure helped prepare him for the added pressure of managing in the Premier League.

“My time in Japan helped me because, first of all, you get out of the pressure a bit,” said Wenger. “In Europe it is much more aggressive than Japan.

“It helps as well to take a distance with all the things you believe you cannot live with. It is a good pause in your life to take a distance, it's like you go a bit away from everything and then you come back in it again.

“I believe it is more about what you experience yourself than the technique to copy over there. The Japanese have that internal desire to do well, which is a big strength.

"In Europe you have to win every game. When you move out of Europe you can sometimes feel like you are in a different world. So you take a distance with what you think is vital."

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2 Oct 2009