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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Wenger: We must play way back into fans' hearts

Arsene Wenger insists he can cope with the Arsenal boo-boys as he focuses on taking the Gunners through to a succesful end to the season.

Arsenal suffered a third straight Barclays Premier League defeat when they lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United last Sunday, during which Wenger's decision to substitute livewire Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - who actually had a slight calf problem - for the ineffectual Andrey Arshavin was greeted with chants of "you don't know what you're doing" from some sections of the Emirates Stadium. While Wenger accepts everyone is entitled to vent their frustrations, the Arsenal manager is not about to take things personally as he prepares for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Aston Villa.

Asked about last week's jeers, he said: "I can live with that. I do not think about the fans' reaction, I think about how we can win our games.

"I will live forever by the values I think are right in football. One or two lost games, or one or two bad reactions will not change that.

"I always believe the fans' reaction depends on us. It is the team which has to get the fans behind them, and the fans have to be proud of the team. The vibes have to come from us.

DISAPPOINTING

"What was disappointing for me was that we produced a bad performance in the first half (against United), but a decent performance in the second half and should have won. We did not deserve to lose. The team did not get the credit it deserved for the performance in the second half."

Wenger addressed the squad at Arsenal's Hertfordshire training complex this week to reiterate his belief they can force their way back into the top four, despite now trailing Chelsea by five points. "The most important thing is that the player believes he is good and strong and that the manager believes in his players," he said.

Wenger confirmed that England midfielder Jack Wilshere had suffered "a little setback" in his recovery from an ankle injury. The 20-year-old, who needed surgery after initially wearing a protective boot, will now have further tests and then a series of consultations with specialists before deciding how to proceed.

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