Despite protests outside the training ground, Arsene Wenger again insisted that he is the right man to lead Arsenal and, in contrast to fan opinion, quoted Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s comment that ‘fourth place is a trophy.’
Two Arsenal fans turned up with flags, banners and masks of Wenger and Alexis Sanchez’s face before Wenger’s press conference for Wednesday’s West Ham clash, demanding the Frenchman brings the curtain down on his 20-year tenure at the Gunners.
When asked about the protest, Wenger said: ‘What I believe is that everyone has an opinion today and what is important is that guys who influence the result stick together and what matters to them is to win a football match.’
Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League and trail Manchester City, who are fourth, by seven points.
Wenger said of finishing in the top four: ‘It is a good challenge but perfectly possible. For 20 years I have done it and it looked always like it was nothing and suddenly it was important.
‘I am pleased people realise it is not as easy as it looks. As Guardiola said the other day, to achieve top four in England is a trophy. I am happy people realise it is not as easy as it looks.’
The Frenchman once again straight-batted questions about his future, saying: ‘We have answered that question many time. You ask again but don’t worry, you will get that soon.
‘I think I wish just to dedicate my energy to football and to the next game and leave my own personal case out of the debate.
‘If I have shown one thing in my 20 years, it is that I care about Arsenal and the next game and I will continue to do that.
‘I am professional and when you are professional you perform in ideal and non-ideal conditions.
‘I think I love to win football games and I just focus on that and stay with the values I believe are important in life. I work for my club with honesty and integrity and I am not scared.
‘I accept the judgement of people and focus on what is important in the game.’
Reacting to cryptic remarks made by club chief executive Ivan Gazidis that something new is needed at Arsenal, Wenger said: ‘The board is responsible for decisions on the future and I focus on the short term, the game against West Ham.’
Wenger again expressed his bafflement over speculation over the future of talisman Alexis Sanchez, saying: ‘One and a half years left on his contract, I don’t see what is new with that debate.
‘We are professional football people; I don’t understand, our job is to perform wherever we are. If I sign a contract, I commit until the end of my contract, I do not understand this anxiety one and a half years from the end of your contract.’