'I haven't backed myself into a corner'
Arsène Wenger is adamant that Arsenal's nightmare recent run will not define whether he remains the club's manager but whether he can take them and himself to "the next level."
Wenger's contract expires at the end of the season and he suggested yesterday that he may yet wait until that time before coming to a definitive conclusion, despite previous estimates of a decision in "March or April".
The big problem is that, although he would like to stay and Arsenal had hoped that he would extend his contract, fans are now split and the club have not challenged - as he expected - to win the Premier League or Champions League in the current three-year cycle.
Asked if he had "boxed himself into a corner", Wenger said: "You do not make this kind of decision focusing on one result or two bad results.
"You have to take a bigger picture and see, 'Can you take this club to the next level? Are you ready to pay the price for that?' This decision is not linked with two weeks out of 20 years. I don't feel I box myself in a corner."
Wenger had earlier intervened with Per Mertesacker when the captain was asked if the players wanted him to remain manager.
"I think honestly it's not down to the players to choose the manager," said Wenger.
"The players have to perform and the board chooses the manager. If I ask you, 'Is everybody in your company behind you?' I promise you I find some who are not happy that you sit here and would like to be in your position."