Arsene Wenger: I will work next year, whether at Arsenal or elsewhere
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger insists he will still be managing next season -- whether it is at Arsenal "or somewhere else" -- but refused to shed any more light on whether he will walk away from the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger confirmed on Friday that he will make his decision on whether to stay in the job in March or April, but said Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich would not lead him to retire.
"No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it's here or somewhere else. That's absolutely for sure," Wenger told a news conference ahead of Monday's FA Cup game at Sutton United.
"You do not stay somewhere for 20 years to then walk out after a defeat like that [against Bayern]. It is difficult to take, but I have the strength and experience to respond to that."
Wenger, whose contract expires in the summer, has come under heavy pressure after the demoralising defeat in Germany, which likely means they will exit the Champions League in the round of 16 for the seventh straight year.
Wenger had told ZDF in Germany before the Bayern game that he would decide his future in March or April and confirmed that remained the case on Friday, adding: "If I said March or April, it is because I didn't know."
The 67-year-old also said he is in regular contact with majority owner Stan Kroenke and club chief executive Ivan Gazidis, but refused to discuss what they have told him regarding a new contract.
"I do not want to come back on that. At the moment we have other priorities. My personal [future] as I said many times is not important. It's Arsenal Football Club and the future of our team and what we can achieve until the end of the season that is important," he said.
"I think what is important is that the club makes the right decision for the future. I do not work here for 20 years not to care about this club, because I had many opportunities to go somewhere else during that period and I care about this club and I care about its future.
"It is very important that the club is always in safe hands, whether that is me or someone else, which I am sure it will be."
Wenger also defended his record at the club despite not winning the Premier League since 2004 and the team's annual struggles in Europe. Arsenal have never finished outside the top four in the league under Wenger, and he warned that not everything will be perfect at the club if he leaves.
"Look, as long as you do not win absolutely everything there is always something wrong and you have to accept that because you want always to go to the next level," he said. "On the other hand, in the last 20 years in Europe only three clubs have managed to play every year in the Champions League and that is Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and nobody else.
"That means if everything is not perfect, not all is wrong. Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future. That is part of it -- you have to accept that, as much as it hurts to lose games.
"If you look at the history of Arsenal, Arsenal had less Champions League games when I arrived than I had in my career already, and since then we have done a few, so I hope in the future we can win this trophy, or Arsenal can win this trophy, but it is not like when I arrived Arsenal had already won the European Cup five times -- they had never won the European Cup.
"They played maybe 10 games in the history of the club so you have to take into perspective some demands."
Wenger denied reports of a dressing room row after the Bayern Munich defeat.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.