Wenger: Bruce gets plaudits
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintains maximising the potential of a team is always the best way to judge a manager.
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Wenger takes his side to fellow FA Cup finalists Hull on Easter Sunday, and has been impressed by the "exceptional work" of Steve Bruce as well as Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace, who has been touted as a candidate for League Managers' Association Manager of the Season after guiding the Eagles to top-flight safety from what had looked certain relegation.
The 64-year-old French coach recently took charge of his 1,000th match in charge of Arsenal, and feels the relative achievements of every one of the top flight's 20 head coaches must be weighed up.
"I believe the real job of a manager is to take the best out of the potential of the team," said Wenger, whose side moved back up into the top four with a 3-1 win over West Ham on Tuesday night.
"The easy way is always to choose the guy who wins the (Premier) League (as manager of the season), but it is not always him who has done the best job - the real job is to take the best out of the potential of the team and certainly they (Bruce and Pulis) are candidates."
Wenger, who has yet to sign a contract extension, added: "I am not in the best position to judge my own work publicly.
"I just promise you one thing, I always sit down and try to be as honest as I can be with myself.
"The only thing I can say is that I put total commitment in from the first until the last day of the season and I will."
A lot has been made as to what exactly would constitute a success for Arsenal this season, with the club on the verge of securing what would be a first trophy since 2005 and also now back in the driving seat for Champions League qualification after Palace's unexpected victory at Everton on Tuesday night.
"I think we have moved a lot forward, considering what happened to us with a number of injuries we had in a crucial period of the season," Wenger said.
"We were 17 or 18 times top of the league, that did not happen last year, we are in the FA Cup final, we went out only against Bayern Munich in the Champions League with 10 men and we had come out of a very difficult Champions League group.
"I believe that we have shown some real potential and promise for the future."
Wenger believes his squad deserve great credit for coming out of what was a tough period after a string of poor performances again saw their character called into question.
"What is satisfying for me is that we do as well as we can until the end of the season, that you can turn and think 'this team has behaved really like a top-level professional team', with all the ups and the downs," he said.
"Because that is what you want from your team, to feel that the team has given as much as they could. After that, you leave the judgement to other people.
"We want to come out of the season and think we have given absolutely everything, and I must say this team has been absolutely focused since the start of the season.
"We had our downs, and big downs for some periods, but the behaviour was always focused."