Arsene Wenger on his Arsenal future, defeat at Bayern Munich and what next for his side: full transcript
17 February 2017 • 11:16am
Arsene Wenger spoke at length today for the first time since Arsenal's midweek defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The Gunners boss's future has been under increasingly levels of scrutiny following the 5-1 loss. He was questioned at length over whether he will be leaving, what went wrong on Wednesday and more. You can read the full transcript from his pre-Sutton press conference here:
On Bayern defeat:We were in an ideal position at half-time, because we scored a goal away from home. After that, it all went wrong for us. I think we looked quite defensively solid in the first half. We lost [Laurent] Koscielny in the second half and after that we lost our structure and our organisation a bit. We were a bit naive on the different goals we conceded. At 3-1, I felt we were mentally affected by the result and much more vulnerable.
Arsene Wenger: 'I will manage next season whether it is at Arsenal or somewhere else'
On how long Koscielny is out for:
Idon’t know, he has a scan today.
What sort of team we are likely to see against Sutton United:A normal team.
On giving some youngsters a chance against Southampton:
Yes, I gave them a chance because I think they deserved to play and have a good opportunity to come in for players who usually play, and I think they have done well and one or two might have another chance to say that he can play in every single game now.
On how he feels 36 hours on from the Bayern game:The main emotion is that everybody after a big disappointment regroups and focuses on what is in front of us - the next game - and to take care of the consequences a disappointing result can have on everybody’s spirit inside the club and to make sure that we bounce back and focus on the next game. That’s what life is about.
On putting Bayern into perspective and if it’s one of his worst results:I think we can speak now - I know the media likes this kind of press conference - but what is important for us is to focus on our next game and let everybody judge and criticise. We have to deal with that, with the media, and focus on what is our job. We can analyse with clarity what happened and focus and take care of what is in front of us and what we can influence. It’s not the last result - we can influence that when we play against Bayern at home. At the moment, we have to look at our next game.
On the team looking ‘mentally jaded’ on Wednesday and how that can be changed:
Just what I told you - rebuild confidence and belief in what we think is important in the game. That means the way we want to play football, the way we want to defend, the way we want to attack and the way we want to respond together.
On whether there was a row in the dressing room:“No. Not at all. Everybody was of course deeply disappointed and affected but there was no incident in the dressing room apart from a huge sadness and disappointment.”
On whether the FA Cup is now the only trophy he can win:“I don’t know, but the FA Cup is one of our targets. It’s the next game and for us to bounce back after the game we just had, it becomes a very important game. But it always was, in my head.”
On whether his selection for Sutton changes in light of recent games:“No, I always had in my head that it was a very important game. In my head I have a team that will start and play there for a week or 10 days now. That result we had at Bayern Munich will not influence that selection.”
On why Alexis Sanchez has been given time off:“He has a court case in Barcelona and he will be back in training tomorrow.”
On whether some of the stuff he reads or hears about himself annoys him after so many years:"No. Because I am used to it. I am here for 20 years and I think in life it is important that you do what you think is right. All the rest of it is judgement and I am in a public job and I have to accept that. I have to behave with my values and with the way that I see my job and accept that everybody can have an opinion on it.”
On whether he said he will decide his future in March or April:“Yes.”
On whether he will be deciding in March or in April:“I don’t know.”
On whether he has spoken to the main shareholder or chief executive:“Every time I have the opportunity, I do.”
On what their view on his future is:“I do not want to come back on that. At the moment we have other priorities. My personal [future] as I said many times is not important. It’s Arsenal Football Club and the future of our team and what we can achieve until the end of the season, that is important.”
On whether he ever feels like he’s had enough:
No. No matter what I happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure. On a night like that, of course, I hate defeat and I hate to lose games. I want to do extremely well for this club and I feel a big responsibility. You do not stay somewhere for 20 years to then walk out after a defeat like that. It is difficult to take, but I have the strength and experience to respond to that. I would just like to add as well that we played against a good Bayern team who have won this competition [recently], and who have 11 top-class players. We have to give credit to our opponents as well sometimes. It’s important to put things into perspective in this competition, and they are top-class players.
On whether he watched Boreham Wood beat Sutton 5-0 in the FA Trophy:Sutton had six or seven players who didn’t play, so they didn’t play with their regular team. I expect a completely different game against us. It will be the FA Cup with everybody supporting them. They’ve been preparing for this game for a long time in their heads with a huge enthusiasm, so you cannot compare that with the game against Boreham Wood.
Credit:Rich Linley - CameraSport
On whether he went to watch:
Iwas not at the game, I was busy on the day.
On whether speculation over his future is unhelpful for the club:No. I think we have to focus on real problems. The real problems are the way we play football and not my future. The priority is how we respond to a defeat and how we will play together. That’s what it is to be professional. It’s always important not to look for the wrong excuses in life, and to focus on what is important, what you can influence and what is your job.
On supporters feeling it’s time for him to go:That is an eternal debate when you are somewhere for a long time and you have a big disappointment. Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future. That is part of it, you have to accept that, as much as it hurts to lose games. If you look at the history of Arsenal, Arsenal had less Champions League games when I arrived than I had in my career already, and since then we have done a few, so I hope in the future we can win this trophy, or Arsenal can win this trophy. But it is not like I arrived Arsenal had already won the European Cup five times - they had never won the European Cup. They played maybe 10 games in the history of the club, so you have to take into perspective some demands.
On people having to be careful what they wish for:
Ithink what is important is that the club makes the right decision for the future. I do not work here for 20 years not to care about this club, because I had many opportunities to go somewhere else during that period and I care about this club and I care about it’s future. It is very important that the club is always in safe hands, whether that is me or someone else, which I am sure it will be.