Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger let his players make key tactical decisions, particularly in terms of defensive positioning, Gilberto Silva is alleged to have told fellow ex-Gunner Stewart Robson.
The Brazilian midfielder spent six seasons with Arsenal at the peak of his career, forming a key part of their 2003/04 title-winning side that went the whole season unbeaten in the Premier League.
Still, Robson claims Gilberto discussed the lack of cohesion and discipline in the side, with Wenger trusting the instincts of his players instead of assigning clearly defined roles.
Robson has often been critical of his former club under Wenger’s management in recent years, and once again hit out at the Frenchman for only paying attention to the attacking aspects of the game whilst neglecting to tighten up at the back.
‘Gilberto Silva spoke to me at the World Cup … When he was playing for Brazil, he knew what his job as the holding midfield player was,’ Robson told ESPN.
‘He had to cover the full-backs, they had to make sure when they lost the ball, they were in good positions.
‘He said at Arsenal it was the players that decided that when they had the Invincible run, not the manager. And he (Wenger) is still not talking about the defensive side of the game.
‘Barcelona, when they won the European Cup, they were the best pressers of the ball in the Champions League.
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Bournemouth (H) – Sat 9 Sep
FC Koln (H) – Europa League – Thu 14 Sep
Chelsea (A) – Sun 17 Sep
Doncaster (H) – League Cup – Tue 19 Sep
West Brom (H) – Mon 25 Sep
BATE Borisov (A) – Europa League – Thu 28 Sep
Brighton (H) – Sun 1 Oct
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‘He doesn’t talk about that, that’s where he’s totally, totally wrong. He only sees one side of the game.’
Wenger hasn’t won a league title since Gilberto and co. went unbeaten in 2004, with many fans also losing patience with him last season with a number of high-profile protests calling for him to leave at the end of his contract.
In the end, the long-serving manager extended his stay at the Emirates Stadium, with Arsenal again starting this season poorly with two defeats in their first three matches.