West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has revealed that Arsene Wenger was his role model when getting into management.
Bilic spent time studying and analysing Wenger when he was taking his Pro Licence coaching badge in 2011.
The Croatian manager was quoted by the Mirror as saying: “When I was preparing to become a coach myself, Arsene Wenger was one of the managers I studied at work on the training field for a week.
“We’ve stayed in touch and, of course, I rate him very highly. Arsenal are not just role models for us, they are an example for all clubs to copy because of their history and the way they do things.”
Bilic got the chance to take on Wenger last season whilst in charge of Beşiktaş and held Arsenal to a goalless draw in Istanbul before narrowly losing 1-0 at the Emirates.
The 46-year-old recalls studying Arsenal in the lead up to the Champions League play-off tie last season.
“But sometimes, the big teams don’t start the season well. I watched Arsenal play Palace in their first Premier League game last season, because their next game was against my Besiktas team in a Champions League play-off, and they won 2-1 with a last-minute goal,” he added.
“I remember the game well, and Palace deserved a point. You have to play against Arsenal some time, and you know it will be a tough game, but like most things in life it’s a matter of how you approach it.”
Bilic took over as West Ham head coach over the summer replacing Sam Allardyce. The former Croatian national team manager will take charge of his first Premier League game as a manager.
The Hammers boss has not got off to the best start in England. West Ham were dumped out of the Europa League last week after a 2-1 defeat against Romanian side Astra.
The ex Beşiktaş boss guided the Black Eagles into third-place last season and reached the Europa League quarter-finals after eliminating Liverpool on penalties in the Round of 32.