Saturday 16 December 2017

Wenger won't be drawn on Arsenal future

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the sideline yesterday. Photo: PA
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the sideline yesterday. Photo: PA

Arsene Wenger would not be drawn on his future at the Emirates after Arsenal missed out on a Champions League place for the first time in almost two decades.

Goals from Hector Bellerin, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey saw the Gunners claim a 3-1 victory over Everton, but it was not enou gh as wins for Manchester City and Liverpool saw Arsenal miss out on a top-four finish by one point on the final day of the Premier League season.

There could also be a price to pay for next weekend's FA Cup final against Chelsea as Laurent Koscielny was sent off just 14 minutes in and Gabriel was carried off on a stretcher.

Following the match Wenger did not want to focus on his personal situation, but said the tension coming from fans who want him out was not helping the players.

"Look, my personal situation tonight is not so important," Wenger said.

"I care about this club. Even if I leave one day I will love this club until the last day of my life, and I want this club to do well and that's all I care about tonight.

"It's not my personal situation, it's just how well the club responds next season.

"You have been at the games and you cannot say that the environment for the players was especially positive.

"I don't know. What is important is we do our job. We are professional people and part of being professional is as well to perform when the environment is not positive. We have not to look there as well as an excuse, but I just say it's a fact - it doesn't help."

Wenger also admitted that missing out on a top-four berth felt "very strange".

A fifth-placed finish means Wenger's men will be on the outside looking in after 19 straight seasons in Europe's elite club competition.

"I don't know yet because we have not started the Champions League yet, but it's very sad," the Frenchman said.

"It's very strange because, for 75 points, we are only one point short. Of course you can look everywhere for where we dropped these points, but since January it's been a very difficult environment for different reasons."

Despite defeat, Everton finished seventh and will join Arsenal in the Europa League. However, manager Ronald Koeman said it was imperative to find players who can give his side more aggression and productivity.

"It wasn't good enough," the Dutchman said. "We saw today what we need for next season. We need more productivity out of possession."

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