• Champions League

Wenger fumes over Arsenal contract talk

ESPN staff
February 18, 2013

A furious Arsene Wenger has angrily denied suggestions that he is about to sign a new contract as Arsenal manager, as his latest press conference turned into a fractious war of words at the Gunners' London Colney training base.

Reports in Monday morning's newspapers suggested the 63-year-old Frenchman was ready to extend his historic reign as Arsenal boss, despite coming under extreme pressure following Saturday's shock FA Cup exit against Championship opponents Blackburn at Emirates Stadium.

After facing up to a weekend of criticism from the media, Wenger was in confrontational mood as he faced up to his adversaries with unusual feistiness and responded angrily when quizzed on the rumours of a fresh contract.

"This is wrong information," snapped Wenger, when asked whether he was about to sign a new two-year contract. "I have worked for 16 years here in England and I deserve a bit more credit that giving out wrong information that only has one intention, which is to harm.

"If it is good information, it's alright, but this is wrong information and comes from nowhere. It is wrong. I don't know where the information comes from."

An increasingly irate Wenger went on to lash out at the "democracy of experts" who have been quick to lambast him in the hours since the Blackburn defeat, as he insisted he will not be shaken by the criticism flowing in his direction.

"We know how it is going here (with the media)," he continued. "What is important is not to forget what people say here and focus on our strength. We play for Arsenal football club in the last-16 of the Champions League. We have qualified for a long time and it is not important what people say. What is important is what happens on the football pitch.

"We live in a democracy of experts and opinions and we have to live with that, cope with that. We have to show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion. There are a lot of experts who are not always right."

Wenger went on to hit back at critics who have accused him of not taking the FA Cup seriously after he rested a host of star names from starting line-up at Blackburn on Saturday, as the tension in the room continued to simmer.

"Look, I have been accused of not taking seriously the FA Cup on Saturday," barked Wenger. "I have won the FA Cup four times. Who has won it more? Give me one name.

"The second thing is we have been accused of not putting out a strong team out I think that is an insult to the players who started the game because we have 11 international football players on the pitch. I would like to tell you, we didn't lose the game with the players who started, but in the last 20 minutes.

"We accept we have to take the blame because we went out, but when you analyse it, you have to analyse it properly. When one guy says something, everyone goes the same way.

"Of course we want to win it, but in Europe recently you face opponents who have some quality. Barcelona have some qualities, Real Madrid have some qualities, but they don't win it (the Champions League) every year.

"We have been consistently there and what we want now is to break through. People will say this is not our best opportunity, I think it is a fantastic opportunity for us to do it because I have a fantastic team and I'm sure they will prove me right."

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