London - Arsene
Wenger said on Friday that he will make a decision on his Arsenal
future "in March or April" as he vowed to remain in football management
come what may next season.
The Frenchman is out of contract with the north London side at the
end of the current campaign and questions over whether he will stay at
Arsenal intensified after the Gunners' humiliating 5-1 defeat by Bayern
Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.
"No matter what happens I will manage for another season," Wenger,
who has been Arsenal's manager for more than 20 years, told reporters at
the club's training ground, north of London, on Friday.
"Whether it's here or somewhere else, that is for sure," the
67-year-old added. "If I said March or April it is because I didn't
know. I do not want to come back on that. We have other priorities at
"I hate defeat and it's hard to take, but I have the strength and
experience to come back from that," he added ahead of Arsenal's
fifth-round FA Cup tie away to non-league Sutton United on Monday.
What made the Bayern defeat all the more bitter for Arsenal's
supporters was that it meant, barring an extraordinary second leg, the
Gunners will be knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League for
the seventh year in a row.
Meanwhile Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004 and
could not mount a sustained challenge even when 5,000/1 outsiders
Leicester took the title last season.
That domestic title drought looks set to continue, with Arsenal currently 10 points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea.
But Wenger warned Arsenal fans, many of whom have been heavily
critical of him in recent times, that the club's form will not improve
spectacularly just as a result of him leaving the Emirates Stadium.
"We have to focus on the real
problems and they are the way we play football, not my future," he said.
"It is always important not to look for wrong excuses in life.
"Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future.
It is not like before I arrived Arsenal had won the European Cup five
"I think what is important is that the club makes the right decision
for the future. I care about this club and its future and it is very
important the club is in safe hands."
He added: "I am used to the criticism. I think in life it's important
to do what you think is right and all the rest is judgement. I am in a
public job and I have to accept that, but I have to behave with my
"As long as you do not win absolutely everything, there is always
something wrong. You have to accept that as you want to go to the next
"If everything is not perfect. not all is wrong."
Meanwhile Wenger dismissed reports of a dressing room bust-up immediately after the heavy loss in Germany
"The main emotion is that everybody is disappointed and we need to focus on the next game," he said.
"We can't influence the last game, we can only influence it the next time we play Bayern at home.
"The defeat did not extend into a row in the dressing room. Everyone
was deeply disappointed but there was no issue in the dressing room
apart from huge disappointment," the manager insisted.
Wenger indicated he would field a strong side at Sutton, rather than
take too many chances against the fifth-tier club, saying: "We will have
the normal team on Monday.
"They have a good opportunity to show what they normally do... But we
need to regroup for the next game to take care of the consequences of a
disappointing result on our spirit and everyone inside the club and make
sure we bounce back."