Wenger: Arsenal Fans Hate The Manager, Not Me Personally

PICTURE: Financial Tribune

LONDON: Arsene Wenger says he’s not taking criticism from Arsenal fans personally, telling Sky Sports he believes “it’s not the person they hate, they hate the manager.”

Arsenal had lost six consecutive games before rebounding in an encouraging 2-0 win away to AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.

Before that game, the Arsenal Supporters Trust found 88 percent of its members want Wenger to be replaced as manager next season, with the long-time boss still yet to confirm his future plans.

But Wenger said he believes the fans are simply frustrated with the recent lack of form.

“It’s not the person they hate, they hate the manager who doesn’t deliver the performance,” Wenger said. “I can make that difference.

“But I’m just unhappy that we lose the games. I want to win, win with style even, so it’s very ambitious. When we don’t do it of course I’m suffering like everyone else.

“Arsenal is 30 million people, it’s not the suffering of one person, you want to make 30 million people happy and that’s what you care about.”

Wenger also cited a underappreciated moral aspect to his position and said he would prefer to be judged on other factors beyond his win-loss record.

“Football is first about values, if I can leave that behind me and that maybe somewhere people respect that Arsenal is [not only] about winning or losing, but as well about what is important in the game,” he said.

“My regret personally is that has gone completely underwater. You don’t speak about that anymore, it’s only about the side of the game that is important but is not essential.”

Former Arsenal players Thierry Henry and Martin Keown have also criticised Wenger in recent weeks, but the manager identified former rival Sir Alex Ferguson as someone who had offered his support.

“There is a solidarity,” Wenger said. “I always support other managers where I can. There is no possibility not to suffer. You have to suffer. The difficulty in this job is to be capable to go periods where it very difficult.”