Football

'Loyal' Wenger prefers to stay at Arsenal

Arsenal boss focused on his job despite widespread calls for him to quit

Arsene Wenger revealed that he hasn't ruled out extending his Arsenal reign, after his side eased the pressure on the troubled boss with a 5-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over minnows Lincoln City yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Wenger has faced calls for his resignation from angry Arsenal fans this week and there were more protests against the beleaguered Frenchman before the clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal's comfortable progress to next month's Wembley semi-finals kept the critics off Wenger's back for the time being, days after they gave him a torrid time following Tuesday's Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

The Gunners boss, who has yet to confirm if he will extend his contract when it runs out at the end of this season, claimed that it is his preference to remain in charge of the Premier League club, but he declined to say how much longer that would be for.

"Let's not talk about me too much because that has happened a lot recently," said Wenger.

"I have shown in my life that I try to serve this club with complete commitment and I will do that as long as I am here.

"How long? I don't know at the moment. I have shown a lot of loyalty and my preference is here. I focus on my job. I always do that. I let other people judge my performances.

"People talk and talk and talk, it doesn't mean they talk truth. We have to deal with that and perform on the football pitch. We let people talk and show them what we are about.

"When I have a problem, I try to just sort it out. I am competitive and always focused on solving the problems I face.

NO GAMBLE

"Sometimes the size of the problem is bigger, but there are always problems."

The team had performed well against Bayern Munich and I wanted to give them a chance to find their confidence back by winning the next game... That’s why I maintained 90 per cent of the players in the starting line-up. Arsene Wenger

Wenger admitted that he did not want to gamble on his team selection as he knew a win in the world's oldest club competition could turn around their season.

"I didn't want to gamble today because I knew that it was very important to win the game," Wenger said.

"I felt as well, on the other hand, that the team had performed well against Bayern and I wanted to give them a chance to find their confidence back by winning the next game.

"And that's why I maintained 90 per cent of the players in the starting line-up.

"We were a bit nervous because your confidence drops when you don't have the results.

"The team were unjustifiably criticised for our last game against Bayern Munich because we had an outstanding game.

"The game was killed not by the fault of the players, but it was killed by the referee.

"I watched that game three times now and it's still the referee who killed our game. Overall, we had to respond today and that's what we did."

With around 9,000 travelling Lincoln fans cheering their side on, Arsenal struggled to gain a foothold in the game and Wenger gave credit to the visitors for making life tough for his side.

"It was difficult," Wenger said.

"They knocked Ipswich out. They knocked Brighton out. They knocked Burnley out at Burnley.

"You could see in the first half that they had a very direct game, but they had clarity about what they wanted to do and they did that very well.

"Overall, for us it was important to be focused and not to make a mistake.

"They had a big crowd behind them as well and they had a chance. There was a big save from Petr Cech in the first half." - PA SPORT

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