Sunday 19 August 2018

Beleaguered boss insists he is still best man for the job

Arsene Wenger: 'At the moment, my future is not my main worry.' Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images
Arsene Wenger: 'At the moment, my future is not my main worry.' Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Nick Szczepanik

It will dismay many but surprise no-one to learn that, even after a fourth successive defeat, Arsene Wenger was stubbornly insisting that he remains the right man to lead Arsenal out of the mire.

Despite loud calls from a section of the travelling fans during their defeat at Brighton for the Frenchman to go, Wenger's focus is on masterminding a recovery away to AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.

"At the moment, my future is not my main worry," he said. "My worry is to get Arsenal winning football games. Then we'll see where we go from there.

"I'll try and give my best as long as I am here. We have to get the team back more confidence, but we need to recover physically first. The programme we have at the moment is too demanding."

Successive defeats by Manchester City in the League Cup final a week ago and then a re-arranged league game last Thursday had taken their toll both mentally and physically, he said.

Frustration

"Look, I can understand the frustration. What can I say? The League Cup in the middle of the season makes it difficult if you don't win it. It brings a lot of negative waves.

"On top of that, the game re-arranged for last Thursday didn't help us to compete today. The negativity after losing the final, plus the fact we're not in a fantastic position in the league, hits us hard."

Asked if he is convinced that there is nobody better able than him to turn the situation round, Wenger was emphatic.

"Yes, because I've done it before," he said.

"It's the first time I've lost so many games on the trot in my life (actually since 2002). I believe a quality of a manager is to try and shorten a crisis, and I believe I can do that."

Wenger launched into a slightly puzzling metaphor about being undressed - as his defence certainly was at times by Brighton's swift counter-attacks - which seemed to mean 'don't kick a man when he is down'.

"When you struggle for confidence, it's difficult when you have just the trousers on," he said. "It's easy to take the trousers off as well, but when you are naked completely you have to try and find a shirt and get dressed properly again. You can't put them more down."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, meanwhile, admitted that he was at fault for both Brighton goals.

"If you want to win a game away of home in the best league in the world your GK can't concede 2 goals like I did today," he tweeted. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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