Published On: Sun, Apr 22nd, 2018

Wenger: 'I've gone through very difficult times' at Arsenal

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Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is determined to finish his 22-year tenure with a flourish, and will reflect on his work when it is over at the end of the season.

The 68-year-old announced his decision to leave the Gunners on Friday, assuaging fears from the “Wenger Out” brigade that the club was going backward under the Frenchman’s management. His decision has also led to an outpouring of appreciation, however, after the first half of his stay in north London triggered transformations in players’ diets, scouting, and tactical approaches in the English game.

“At the end of the day my job is to win the next game and we have to make a separation between the feelings and emotions that come with such a decision as well as with the job and I want to do my job well until the end,” he told Sky Sports on Sunday.

“I am in this job for a long, long time. I have gone through very difficult times so you learn to deal with difficult situations.

“I will come out on that a bit later but at the moment it is important to focus on what matters. That means the results in the next games.”

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Wenger suggested he will divulge his feelings around his impending exit at the end of the season, but for now his focus is on the remaining matches of the Premier League campaign and the two-legged Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid which begins on Thursday. Silverware in that competition would punch Arsenal’s ticket into next term’s Champions League.

“We were only informed on Friday about the manager’s decision to step down at the end of the season, so it’s still quite emotional,” captain Per Mertesacker wrote in Sunday’s matchday programme for West Ham United‘s visit, as reported by BBC Sport.

“Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time and he has been so supportive to me.

“He’s been the major figure of this club for more than 20 years. He’s been so impressive for me and he has trusted me so much throughout my career, in bringing me here and making me captain even when I was injured.

“He also gave me a future role here at the club so I am very grateful and humbled for the opportunity he gave to me.

“There’s now an emphasis on us doing it for him too. We want to give him the send-off he deserves: with a cup.”

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