'Nothing is permanent in life' - Arsene Wenger remains defiant as his Arsenal reign hits a new low
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave no hint that he was preparing to step down as the club’s manager after one of the most humiliating nights of his 21-year reign saw Manchester City record a 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium.
Five days after Wenger’s side were comprehensively beaten by City in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, Arsenal were hammered once again by the same opponents who established three-goal advantage before half-time.
With jeers ringing around a stadium that was sparsely populated despite all tickets being sold and Arsenal claiming 58,420 watched the game on a freezing night in north London, a downbeat Wenger admitted his side were bereft of confidence as he made what felt like a hopeless vow to revive the fortunes of his crumbling team.
“When the pressure is on, usually strong organisations unite and not divide and that is what we have to do. Stay together, focus and get the confidence back,” stated Wenger.
“Nothing is permanent in life, apart from the judgements. They are always permanent but the reality in life is that nothing is permanent. It’s down to you how you respond and what kind of focus and effort you show to turn things around.
“I knew the first half would be difficult for us after Sunday stated Wenger. We needed at least to come in level at half-time but City took advantage of our lack of confidence. The team put a huge effort in but they’re going through a different period and their quality made it a difficult game for us.
“The goals were preventable. I don’t think we can take away from the individual quality of the goals but it was soft defending on our side. After half-time we needed the penalty to go in to have a slight change to come back so that was a blow to us.
“It was tough but that’s explainable by the fact of what happened on Sunday and the consequences of the hype about our performance. It hits you. The players put in a huge effort today, but unfortunately we had some weak defending.
“We focus on performances and when the pressure is on like this you have to show that strong organisation and unite, not divide. You have to stay together, focus and work even harder to get the confidence back.
“You don’t expect fans to be euphoric after losing 3-0. We have to earn the fans by the quality of our performance. It has to come from us.”
With the now familiar tide of anger set to flow in Wenger’s direction as his side fell 30 points behind title leaders City, he insisted he was focused on trying to salvage something from this season.
“We want to focus on the next game and continue the effort we put in tonight,” he added. “We’ve played twice against the best team in the country and it’s difficult for us, especially when it was not a good performance in the first game, but we have quality and want to show that.
“I’m confident we can improve because I’ve done it before and I have confidence in the quality of the players.”
Man City boss Pep Guardiola insisted Wenger needed to be allowed to make a decision on his Arsenal future, as he offered warm words for the beleaguered Frenchman.
“He knows my admiration of him,” Guardiola stated. “We fight and play many times at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here in the Premier League.
“I know all the managers can be in that situation. I’m sure he is going to take the right decision for him, for the players, for the club.”