LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 14 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insisted any discussions the Gunners’ board may be having about his future will not distract him from his job, with the debate about his position showing no sign of stopping.
Wenger’s contract is up at the end of the season and there has been intense speculation about whether the veteran French manager, in charge at north London giants Arsenal since September 1996, will carry on.
Poor recent results, including Monday’s 3-0 defeat by a Crystal Palace side battling to avoid relegation, have only fuelled talk about Wenger’s prospects.
Wenger has indicated previously he has made a decision about his Arsenal future but that any public announcement will come from the club.
“What is happening at board level is not down to me,” said Wenger at a news conference on Friday.
“I focus on what is down to me, the performance of the team and what the fans are interested in is the performance of the team.”
Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table and seven points adrift of a Champions League place, with eight league games left to play this season.
Theo Walcott suggested after the Palace defeat that the Eagles wanted to win more than the Gunners, adding to the pressure being heaped on the 67-year-old Wenger.
– ‘Nothing’ changed with Kroenke –
But no one in Arsenal’s hierarchy, including the club’s US-based owner Stan Kroenke, has yet said anything in public to suggest Wenger’s position is under threat, for all that some fans have called for him to resign.
And Wenger insisted Friday that results such as Monday’s loss had not altered his relationship with Kroenke.
“I believe our relationship has always been the same and that has not changed.”
Wenger, asked if anything had changed regarding his future, replied: “Nothing.”
Following the Palace match, England forward Walcott told Sky Sports: “That wasn’t us tonight. We are all disappointed in the changing room, like the fans are.
“We let them down. We can only apologise.”
But then, in comments that angered many Gunners fans, Walcott, Arsenal’s captain at Selhurst Park, added: “They (Palace) wanted it more. You could sense that from the kick-off.”
Wenger too took a dim view of those remarks, saying Friday: “It is not acceptable.
“But the players were conscious of that when we were in the decisive duels. That’s what I said straight after the game. We were beaten, and you have to face reality and respond.”
Arsenal’s next match is away to second-bottom Middlesbrough — whose four league wins are the least by any Premier League club so far this season – on Monday.