Wenger loses cool at ‘trophy-less’ jibe
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Angered by criticism of Arsenal and claims about his future, Arsene Wenger's irritation boiled over publicly ahead of Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich. Arsenal's last chance to end a trophy drought stretching back to 2005 is in Europe after being knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier Blackburn on Saturday.
Wenger was frustrated Monday by continued questions about that loss, and grew angrier when asked about a report claiming he is in talks about a new contract. "That is the wrong information and I work for 16 years in England,'' Wenger said. "I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm."
Turning to one reporter, Wenger asked: "Why do you look at me?'' "Because it's your press conference," the reporter snapped back. "I just thought you had given this information out," Wenger responded, referring to the report of contract talks. What is indisputable is Arsenal's Premier League position: fifth, 21 points behind leader Manchester United and four points behind the fourth spot to qualify for the Champions League.
First, though, Arsenal must negotiate the two-legged last-16 match against Bayern Munich, which has a 15-point lead in the German title race. Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes responded to Wenger's outburst by claiming criticism of his counterpart is unfair. "Over the years they have been selling their best players whereas the other teams get in these world stars. If you have to compete with that I don't think it is fair to blame Arsene Wenger. Wenger is a great coach," Heynckes said.
The only minor discord in the Bayern camp is Arjen Robben's dissatisfaction with his substitute role. Robben came on late against Wolfsburg and drilled in Bayern's second goal in stoppage time, before demanding to start against Arsenal. "I do not see any reason why I should not play against Arsenal," he told reporters. "These are the super games you want to play."