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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Arsene Wenger 'amazed' at speculation over future as Arsenal manager

Frenchman, who has been in charge of London side for 21 years, says his focus is to worry about getting his players ready for game - and not his job

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, left, is aghast at questions regarding his job. Neil Hall / EPA
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, left, is aghast at questions regarding his job. Neil Hall / EPA

Arsene Wenger has claimed he is "amazed" at fresh speculation regarding his future as Arsenal manager.

Arsenal were thrashed 3-0 in Sunday's League Cup final at the hands of Manchester City, with an abject display leading to increased calls for the 68-year-old to be relieved of his duties.

Wenger has been battling against a growing feeling from within the Arsenal fanbase that he is no longer the man to take the club forward.

With Arsenal now sixth in the Premier League table - languishing a massive 27 points behind leaders City - out of the FA Cup following a third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest and up against Italian giants AC Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League, the Carabao Cup was a chance to garner both silverware and support.

Instead, Pep Guardiola's City left Wenger's side in tatters without ever having to play at their swashbuckling best.

The Arsenal display led to high-profile criticism from match commentator Gary Neville as well former Gunners favourites Ian Wright and Thierry Henry.

But Wenger responded with apparent shock when asked if the result meant his 21-year tenure was now under increased threat.

"I am just amazed that I have to always answer things that are exactly the same," he said. "I am here for 21 years, I turned the whole world down to respect my contracts. So I am still amazed that I still have to answer these types of questions.

"My position is my position. Honestly, that's the last worry I have at the moment. My worry is to focus, to get the team ready for tomorrow's game.

"My job is to focus on performing and my job is to perform. It's for other people to judge me, it isn't for me to evaluate that."

Thursday's game, rather disconcertingly for Wenger, sees leaders City visit the Emirates Stadium for a league clash.

The Frenchman defended the performance of his players at Wembley on Sunday, where several were labelled as "spineless" and a "disgrace" by Neville as they were shown walking when out of possession.

"You can always get out pictures from a game that justifies what you think, you find in every single game, on both sides, moments where a player doesn't track," he said. "After you have to analyse why, has he made two runs before to go in behind and was exhausted, or did he not track because he didn't want to? That is different.

"I believe we have to live with that criticism and respond together like we always do.

"We didn't play against a poor team in the semi-final, we played against Chelsea and we have shown that we can fight. You have to acknowledge as well that Man City are a quality team."

Wenger's hopes of exacting some sort of revenge against City on Thursday have been further hit by the news Nacho Monreal will miss the game through injury.

The 32-year-old defender has been one of Arsenal's better performers this season before a back injury forced him off less than half-an-hour into Sunday's final.

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