Arsene Wenger was keen to look ahead as his 20th anniversary as Arsenal manager was toasted ahead of their Premier League trip to Burnley on Sunday.
The 66-year-old reaches a landmark two decades in charge of the Gunners on Saturday and chairman Sir Chips Keswick presented the Frenchman with a crystal vase to mark the occasion ahead of his weekly press conference.
Wenger is often credited with ushering in a change of approach to the English game when he arrived at Highbury from Japanese side Grampus Eight as a relatively unknown manager.
Since then he has guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles and a record-equalling six FA Cups, as well as overseeing the move to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium.
But Wenger was in no mood for reminiscing and is still hungry for success as his side look to continue their strong start to the season with a win at Turf Moor.
“I think it is a privilege for me but I do not look back,” he said when asked for his favourite memory of the last 20 years.
“Maybe what people will keep is the Invincible year (the 2003-04 season when Arsenal were unbeaten en route to winning the league), but for me the job of a manager is to do the maximum with what you have available and that is what I try to do.
“After is like a marathon, you do one step after another and when you look back you have done the distance. We are obsessed always by the next game and that is what we expect always: the perfect game in the next one. That is what we work for.”
Keswick gave a short speech thanking Wenger for his contributions to the club, with the 76-year-old also joking about Wenger’s own age.
Presenting Wenger with his commemorative vase, Keswick said: “This is a very small thank you for 20 years of wonderful association as far as Arsenal Football Club is concerned.
“This is a present from the board and everybody on or off the pitch and all I can do is say thank you, and you should have yourself photographed with me more often as it makes you look very young!”
Wenger said the unwavering support of the Arsenal board had helped him establish his 20-year dynasty and admitted the game is now completely different to when he arrived.
Asked what had helped him most in the past two decades, he replied: “Certainly my resilience and passion and certainly the faith of the board, who stand by me.
“I believe that this club is brave and that’s one of the good values of the club and we have shown through the years that we can have a good togetherness at the club and that is always the quality that came out through good and bad moments. We kept our feet on the ground and it always fell together.
“A lot has changed. The art of management has changed, the club has grown bigger, it is now a global club. Twenty years ago it wasn’t as big, or as expensive.
“Football has become popular, it’s become a world sport. Today when I go out onto the training pitch, I see people from China or Hong Kong. Everything has changed and the pressure has intensified too. But what hasn’t changed is the solidarity inside the club. That’s always stayed the same.”
Burnley, whose boss Sean Dyche was turning out for Chesterfield in the equivalent of League One when his counterpart was unveiled at Arsenal, will be looking to ruin the anniversary celebrations on Sunday and Wenger knows his team will have to be on their game to extend their unbeaten run – which stretches back to the opening weekend of the campaign.
“We have to go into the game with the same commitment, the same focus that we had in recent games,” he added.
“The danger from Burnley comes from the fact that they are very efficient in some aspects of their game, they are very well organised defensively, they don’t concede many goals at home and they have shown that against Liverpool and Watford.
“They’re very dangerous on set-pieces and counter-attacks as well, so we have to prepare well.”