Arsene Wenger says he has no intention of retiring and will definitely be managing next season, whether at Arsenal “or somewhere else”.
Wenger’s position has come under intense scrutiny this week following Arsenal’s 5-1 Champions League rout at the hands of Bayern Munich. The defeat was deemed by several ex-players as a sign that Wenger’s 21-year tenure was drawing to a close.
The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of this season and he said he would decide on a new deal in March or April.
“No matter what happens I will manage for another season. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, that is for sure,” Wenger said on Friday.
“If I said March or April it is because I didn’t know. I do not want to come back on that.
On the criticism he has received since the defeat against Bayern, Wenger added: “On a night like that, I hate defeat and I want to do extremely well for this club. I feel a big responsibility. I am used to it, I am here for 20 years. In life it is important to do what you think is right and the rest is judgement. I am in a public job, I accept that and I have to behave with my values and accept everyone can have an opinion.”
Wenger, 67, has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996, but has not previously come under the kind of sustained criticism witnessed in recent weeks. Nevertheless, he sees this censure as part and parcel of the job of management.
“We let everyone judge and criticise, we have to deal with that. We have to bounce back, that is what life is about,” he added.
“Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future. It is not like before I arrived Arsenal had won five times in the European Cup.
“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.
“The main emotion is everyone has a big disappointment. We have to regroup and refocus on the next game, and to take care of the consequences a disappointing result can have on everyone’s spirit.
“We have to focus on the real problems and they are the way we play football, not my future.
“It is always important not to look for wrong excuses in life.”