Football

Wenger won't quit coaching

Gunners boss will stay in management even if he leaves

Arsene Wenger insists the curtain will not come down on his managerial career even if he announces his departure from Arsenal in the next two months.

The 67-year-old has been in charge of the Gunners for more than 20 years, but has seen his position come under increased scrutiny following the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

He confirmed at his press conference yesterday that he would make a firm decision on his position in either March or April.

But he said he would not walk away purely because of the Champions League defeat and that he would look to manage elsewhere if he opts against signing a fresh deal when his contract expires in the summer.

When asked if he ever feels like he has had enough of management, he replied: "No. No matter what 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.

Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future.Arsene Wenger

"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 its future."

If Wenger is to leave and, barring a miracle turnaround in the second leg against Bayern, he will end his reign without being able to deliver the Champions League to the club.

But he insists the expectations of the growing number of supporters calling for a change in manager should be evaluated based on where the club were when he first took over in 1996.

"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," he said.

"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, it is not like I arrived Arsenal had already won the European Cup five times - they had never won the European Cup.

"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."

Wenger also moved to quash speculation there had been a dressing room disagreement following the heavy loss.

"No. Not at all," he said when questioned about a row. "Everybody was of course deeply disappointed and affected, but there was no incident in the dressing room apart from a huge sadness and disappointment."

Wenger has seen a number of former Arsenal favourites offer their opinions on his future.

Lee Dixon and Martin Keown, who were working as television pundits for the Bayern match, speculated over whether Wenger would quit following the nature of the defeat.

But he said he was not concerning himself with anyone else's opinions over his future.

"I am used to it," he said. "I am here for 20 years and I think in life, it is important that you do what you think is right.

"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." - PA SPORT

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