ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger insists he "is not bothered at all" by the continued furore surrounding the Gunners' torrid current spell as he guided his team into the fourth round of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 win over Shrewsbury.
Wenger had earlier received the full backing of chief executive Ivan Gazidis in the wake of an appalling run of results and Saturday's 4-3 capitulation at struggling Blackburn.
For a while last night, the depression around Emirates Stadium, with an official attendance of just over 46,500, deepened when James Collins headed the League Two side ahead after 16 minutes.
However, England defender Kieran Gibbs levelled before the break with his first senior goal before the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired in a 25-yard effort on the hour and Yossi Benayoun wrapped things up late on.
Despite the criticism, Wenger has no intentions of letting anything deflect him from the challenges ahead.
“I am not bothered at all by this speculation. I am completely focused on doing well,” the Arsenal manager said. “I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise, but you know as well as I know people are very quick to go overboard. When we do well we take all the plaudits, so we have to take as well all the blame when it doesn't go as well – but we have as well on both sides to take some distance.
“When it goes well we must not completely believe what people say and when it does not go as well, we must not completely believe it.”
The Arsenal manager felt the “gamble” of a mixed squad selection had paid off last night, following what was a nervy opening spell.
“It worked because you could see some players, that we haven't seen so much, like Oxlade-Chamberlain and (Francis) Coquelin, have done extremely well and that is positive for the future,” he said.
Oxlade-Chamberlain certainly caught the eye following his all-action display, as the 18-year-old £10million signing from Southampton marked his first senior start with a fine strike.
“You could see that he will be a first-team player here, that is for sure,” Wenger said.
“He has still things to work on but, very quickly, he will be knocking on the door.”
Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner felt his side could have made more of their chances. He said: “We had a real go in the first half. In the end, we could not get near them.”