Monday 25 September 2017

Liam Brady backs Arsene Wenger to stay on at Arsenal despite missing out on Champions League qualification

22 May 2017; Former Sampdoria midfielder Liam Brady speaking at the announcement of the international club match at the Aviva Stadium on August 2nd between Manchester United and Sampdoria. Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
22 May 2017; Former Sampdoria midfielder Liam Brady speaking at the announcement of the international club match at the Aviva Stadium on August 2nd between Manchester United and Sampdoria. Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Former Arsenal midfielder Liam Brady has backed embattled Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to stay on at the Emirates next season despite the Gunners missing out on qualification for the Champions League.

Liverpool's 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday clinched Jurgen Klopp's side fourth place in the Premier League and the final Champions League qualification spot, with Arsenal finishing in fifth and securing qualification to the Europa League group stage.

Liverpool's win over Boro brought an end to 20 consecutive seasons of top four finishes for Arsenal, but Brady claims that the termination of that streak should not be held against Wenger, and that their 75 points this season actually was a higher total than their 71 point mark from last season, where they finished in second place behind champions Leicester City.

"I would be in the Wenger camp. I think Alex Ferguson came out yesterday and said exactly what I feel," Brady told reporters in Dublin at the launch of Manchester United's pre-season friendly with Sampdoria at the Aviva Stadium in August.

"20 years of how he's managed the club shouldn't be discarded by the fact that we haven't qualified for the Champions League.

"I know managers defend themselves by using certain things but we actually have a better total of points this season than we did last year when we finished second.

"It's football and fans have to understand that. We don't know if Arsene is going to stay, it's still up in the air. A lot of newspapers are saying he will stay and it he does I'm happy with that."

Wenger's contract with Arsenal is set to expire in the summer and the Frenchman has yet to confirm whether or not he is staying on as the club's manager.

His contract situation has been the subject of intense scrutiny this season and the 67-year-old admitted on Monday that the public uncertainty over his future at the club has probably had a detrimental effect on his side this season.

"We played since January in a very difficult environment for different reasons," said Wenger.

"That is very difficult for the group of players to cope with. Some other reasons we will talk about another day. But the psychological environment for the players was absolutely horrendous. It has been difficult. Certainly my personal situation has contributed to that."

The Arsenal boss accepted that the uncertainty of his future was having a direc impact on the general mood around the club, but he refused to reveal when that impact was felt the most, and when his contract situation would be resolved.

"We won seven of the last eight games, despite the lack of clarity," he added. "It's a good question. I will give you an answer one day but not today. It's not the moment to speak about some different things. There's nothing bad. I protect nobody. My situation will be sorted soon."

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