FA Cup Arsenal vs Hull: Arsène Wenger loses his cool and says he is 'bored' of defending record

Manager snaps after being asked if he is still good enough for the club ahead of Tuesday's FA Cup replay at Hull City

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger has launched an impassioned defence of his position as European football’s longest-serving manager, ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup replay at Hull City.

After fielding questions about the pressure he might be under following a series of indifferent results, and about speculation surrounding who might replace him, even though he has more than a year left on his contract at Arsenal, his veil of civility slipped.

“Look, I have worked here for 19, 20 years and I’m always sitting here having to justify that I’m good enough to do the job,” Wenger said. 

“I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end. I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I worked for 35 years at the  top level.”

Wenger is chasing a third consecutive Cup triumph and, after seeing his 10 men battle back to draw the north London derby against Spurs on Saturday, insists the title is still achievable, even though Arsenal have fallen eight points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City.

However, neither detail has stilled the disquiet among some Arsenal fans, who question the viability of Wenger as manager following a run in which they have earned just one point in the league since beating Leicester four matches ago and have lost at home to Barcelona in the Champions League.  

Wenger, who is just six months away from celebrating his 20th anniversary in the job, reacted robustly when questioned about the impact supporters might have on his future. “You are the guy who speaks to the fans. It’s not me. I am not on Twitter. I don’t invite anybody to go out to dinner and be nice with them. I work and work and work and work. If it’s not good enough, someone will tell me one day. That’s all I can do. 

“I do not worry what you say about me or what fans say about me. I try to do my job in a proper way and with full commitment. After that everybody has the right to have an opinion. You do not make a decision if I continue my job or not. What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, ‘Do you think you are good enough?’ If I am not somebody will tell me.


Midfielder Aaron Ramsey may be rested by Arsenal tonight after an intense run of games (PA)

“I cannot influence the behaviour of the fans. How can I do that? The question I got from the guy from the television is, ‘After 19 years do you think you are good enough?’ I don’t know. I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes – and believe me I do that. After that as well there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?”

Wenger chose to delay the trip to Hull until today to give his squad more recovery time at home in the middle of a hectic schedule, which involves four matches in the next 11 days. The team will fly straight back after the match tonight to prepare either for a sixth-round FA Cup tie at home to Watford on Saturday or, in the case of defeat, a home Premier League fixture against West Bromwich Albion.  

“It is a bit bizarre. At the moment I try to keep the whole squad on alert and involve everybody. We travel tomorrow morning, we come back tomorrow night, then we prepare for the next one. We don’t really know what is the next one, but we cannot complain because we play football games, and that is what we love.”

Wenger has promised to rotate his squad again tonight, with concerns in particular about protecting the fitness of Aaron Ramsey, who, the manager claims, is especially vulnerable, given his recent injury record and his non-stop style. “I was concerned about Ramsey before the [Spurs] game because medically, historically, he has such a high level of energy he got injured. He got through the game on Saturday, so that shows that he is maybe through the risk period of repeating games. He doesn’t calculate. He just goes and goes and goes, so we have to see if he plays.”