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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Arsene Wenger stepping down so Arsenal can be 'respected' again

  • Frenchman announced on Friday he will leave the club at the end of the season
  • Says he is 'not resentful with the fans'
  • 4-1 win over West Ham United keeps Arsenal sixth in Premier League table
Arsene Wenger takes charge of Arsenal in the 4-1 win over West Ham for the first time since announcing he will step down at the end of the season. Mark Kerton / PA
Arsene Wenger takes charge of Arsenal in the 4-1 win over West Ham for the first time since announcing he will step down at the end of the season. Mark Kerton / PA

Arsene Wenger has suggested leaving his role as Arsenal manager will help the club regain the unity required to earn worldwide respect.

The 68-year-old Frenchman saw his side beat West Ham United 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the first game since he announced on Friday he would step down at the end of the season.

Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal for over 21 years but his role has come under increased scrutiny in recent times following annual failings in the Premier League and Uefa Champions League.

A late flurry of three goals in seven minutes wrapped up a win for Wenger as his long farewell began, Aaron Ramsey putting the Gunners back in front before Alexandre Lacazette hit a late double to add gloss to the result.

Defeat for the Hammers, for whom Marko Arnautovic had cancelled out Nacho Monreal's opener, means they are still in danger of relegation.

But the main talking point before, and after, this contest was why Wenger had now decided it was time to say his goodbyes.

"Personally I believe this club is respected all over the world, much more than in England, that our fans did not give the image of unity I want at the club all over the world and that was hurtful," he said.

"I feel the club is respected and overall the image we gave from our club is not what it is and not what I like. I'm not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines.

"I'm not resentful with the fans, I just feel if my personality is in the way of what I think our club is, for me that is more important than me.

"That is what I want to say, it is nothing to do with the fans, the fans were not happy I can understand that, that is my job and I have to live with that, I can accept that."

Speculation continues as to who could be appointed as Wenger's successor and, with David Moyes in the visiting dugout on Sunday, there was no one better qualified to speak about replacing a long-term and well-respected manager.

Moyes took over at Manchester United following Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013 but was sacked before the end of his first season.

The Scot has since had unsuccessful spells at Real Sociedad and Sunderland before being tasked with keeping West Ham in the Premier League.

But he believes the situations are not comparable as he was under greater pressure than whoever replaces the outgoing Wenger.

"I think they are both different roles," he said. "When I took over at Man United they were champions but had older players, Arsenal are not champions but have a young team so there maybe aren't as big expectations at Arsenal as they were at United.

"I do think whoever gets the opportunity should take it with both hands. I'm sure there will be many of the elite managers keen to choose this club."

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Read more on Wenger:

Life after Wenger: Who will replace Frenchman at Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager after 22 years at end of season

Wenger can still have a fond farewell from Arsenal with Europa League success

Anomalies now part of a wider trend with Wenger's Arsenal

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