Football: Wenger resigned to dealing with 'boring' calls to quit

Arsene Wenger during the FA Cup football match between Hull City and Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger during the FA Cup football match between Hull City and Arsenal.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has launched a vigorous defence of his achievements as Arsenal manager while hitting back at the "boring" detractors calling for him to quit.

He has become accustomed in recent years to Arsenal supporters and pundits calling for him to resign.

The Frenchman was under fire again, following a run of only three wins from 12 games in all competitions that dealt a blow to the team's English Premier League title challenge and Champions League campaign.

The Gunners are eight points behind leaders Leicester City in the Premier League and failure to overturn a 0-2 deficit against Barcelona next Wednesday will see them exit Europe's elite club competition at the round-of-16 stage for the sixth straight campaign.

Arsenal legend Thierry Henry claimed he has never seen the club's fans as angry as they were after a home loss to Swansea, while former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness called the Gunners "weak and insipid".

Souness also claimed they "bordered on a joke" during their defeat by bitter rivals Manchester United last month.

Wenger is the longest-serving football manager in Europe as he approaches 20 years at the helm at Arsenal.

ENDORSED BY THE CLUB

I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes, and believe me, I do that. After that, there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?

ARSENE WENGER, Arsenal manager, on staying in his job since 1996.

Asked if the way fans react to him over the remainder of the season would affect his thoughts about signing a new contract at the club, he made it clear he had no interest in what the doubters say.

"Look, I have worked here for 19, 20 years and I'm always sitting here having to justify that I'm good enough to do the job," he told reporters on Monday, ahead of his side's FA Cup fifth-round replay against second-tier Hull City yesterday.

"I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end.

"I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I worked for 35 years at the top level.

"What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, 'Do you think you are good enough?'

"If I am not, somebody will tell me."

The 66-year-old is the most successful manager in the history of the FA Cup alongside George Ramsay. Both have won the competition six times.

The Gunners, however, have not won the Premier League title since 2004 and reached their only Champions League final back in 2006.

But Wenger is adamant he will go about his job of trying to deliver trophies rather than focusing on what he cannot control.

"I cannot influence the behaviour of the fans. How can I do that?" he said.

"I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes, and believe me, I do that.

After that, there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?

"I am not on Twitter. I don't invite anybody to go out to dinner and be nice with them.

I work and work and work and work. If it's not good enough, someone will tell me one day."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2016, with the headline 'Wenger resigned to dealing with 'boring' calls to quit'. Print Edition | Subscribe