Arsene Wenger: 'Pat Rice has strength to fight cancer'

Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice directs the team during the UEFA Champions League play-off first leg match between Arsenal and Udinese at the Emirates Stadium on August 16, 2011
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Arsene Wenger offers his support to former assistant Pat Rice over his battle with cancer.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has insisted that his former assistant Pat Rice has the mental strength to fight cancer, following the overnight revelations of his illness.

Wenger, who said that everyone at the club was sending their best wishes, is confident that Rice can emerge victorious from his battle with the disease.

"It's very sad news," he told the club's official website. "Not only do we love him but of course we are very grateful for what he has done here. We are in touch with him but I trust his legendary strengths to get over that. I'm confident that he still has the fighting spirit he always had to get over that and that he will come out in a successful way.

"[His strength of character] is what he needs now - [and] he has that. In such a difficult period it's a huge resource. His mental state is very determined, very strong as he always has been. He will fight for that, I have complete trust that he will come out in a very strong way and of course let's hope for the best."

The club officially announced the news earlier on Thursday.

General view outside the Emirates Stadium before the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers on September 24, 2011
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