Arsene Wenger has thanked Monaco for giving him the experience he needed to succeed as a manager.
Wenger’s first trophies in management came during his seven years with the French side and he has since won 13 more with Arsenal.
Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash is the first time Wenger has faced Monaco competitively, and he used the chance to pay tribute to his former club.
"It was my first chance to be in a big club, I was very young and you’re always grateful for that"
“It was the start of my career and I didn’t know how long I’d be in the job or where I would be,” Wenger said. “It was my first chance to be in a big club, I was very young and you’re always grateful for that.
“It’s interesting. I’m happy that Monaco are back at the top level but I’ve been manager of Arsenal Football Club for 18 years and I’m focused on just qualifying for the quarter-final against a good side.
“It’s the first time they have put a lot of investment into the team again because they were in the second division. That means it’s the first time they’ve invested a lot of money again, came up and qualified for the Champions League.
“They are now in the second phase of that process which means they respect the financial fair play more and have a strategy that is more based on youth.
“Monaco made 11 points at the group stage, scored four goals and conceded one, so that means they defend very well. That’s what they will certainly try to do tomorrow and they are also very good on the break, quick in transition, so that’s what we expect from them.”
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