Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that he is not concerned about the abuse that he has been receiving from a section of the fans, and has told them to hold off their judgement about his skills till the end of the season. Speaking ahead of the match against Galatasaray in Turkey, the manager said that what mattered to him was doing his job and giving his best in every game.
The manager has been targeted for most of this season following a slow start and disappointing results against the big teams. We have drawn games against City, Spurs and Everton and lost to Chelsea and United, the latter at home. The dissent has been vocal; and reached a peak in the game against West Brom, where the main talking point was a banner unfurled by the travelling fans calling for Wenger to step down.
And the humbling defeat at Stoke saw this dissatisfaction reach new heights. After Arsenal stumbled to a 3-2 loss at the Britannia, the away fans jeered Wenger as he and the team were boarding the train back to London.
But this dissatisfaction seems limited to the fans; the management stands firmly behind the manager, as do the players. A host of former players have also spoken out in favour of the manager, but it seems to have done little to placate those calling for his resignation.
And it seems to be making no difference to Wenger at all, according to his statement:
We are professional footballers. What is important is the next game and the desire to do it.
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I am a competitive person. What is important is the next game and responding in a strong way, to play to win the game. It is part of our job here, you cannot always look for excuses. We are down. Everyone feels it.
When you have a disappointment you respond in a strong way, that is what competition is about. You cannot as well say there is a guarantee to anybody you will never lose a game. Many teams lose at Stoke, you have to be realistic as well.
We want to be judged at the end of the season, not after every single game where it is normal that emotion is always very high, so let us get our stability back defensively and see at the end of the season where we are.
While it is understandable that the fans want better results from the team, criticising the manager after every game is not the solution. Not only have the board made it clear that he is not going to be sacked; the players’ morale will be affected if this goes on throughout the season. Like I said before, the best we can do for now is to stand firmly behind the team until the end of the season. In the summer, there is time enough for criticism and the scope to make a change.