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Manchester United kick off their title defence against new boys Birmingham City– but the Reds haven’t won any of their last 2 opening games.

Arsene Wenger has admitted there have been times where he has lied about not seeing incidents in a bid to protect his players.

The Arsenal manager very rarely publicly criticises his own players, preferring to ignore them by claiming he did not see what occurred.

But the Frenchman has now confirmed that he has often been economical with the truth.

“Yes, because you are thinking, ‘Why has he (a player) done that?’ and you know you cannot explain it,” he admitted.

“At times I saw it, and I said I didn’t to protect the player, because I could not find any rational explanation to defend him.

“This is a job where you have to have an optimistic view of human nature or you become paranoid. You always have to think that a guy wants to do well.

“A coach is there to help. He must think that if he helps in the correct way the players will respond. You cannot be suspicious.”

Wenger also spoke about his long-term project at Arsenal and admitted he would have been “betraying his beliefs” if he quit to go and work for Real Madrid.

“I want to go to the end of my job here. I built this team, I want to deliver with this team and I feel that if I left I would in some way have betrayed my beliefs,” he said.

“It is nothing to do with what Real Madrid have done. I just couldn’t see leaving this team at this stage of their development.”

Wenger stressed the main objective for him is to create a team, rather than to try and build a side around a handful of key individuals.

“I believe in working in our job, creating connections between the players. I believe in what makes football great,” Wenger said.

“It is a team sport, a collective sport. You can win because you are more a team, or because you have more individual talent. What is interesting for me is the team ethic.

“I love the Davis Cup, but I am not a big fan of individual tennis. It is when sport is about the team that I like it. I like the Ryder Cup.”

Manchester United kick off their title defence against new boys Birmingham City– but the Reds haven’t won any of their last 2 opening games.

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