Wenger urges Arsenal fans to respect RVP
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called on the club's supporters travelling to Old Trafford on Saturday to give Robin van Persie a 'respectful' reception as he lines up against the Gunners for the first time since his contentious summer move to Manchester United.
Wenger has suggested the current unpleasant undertones of discrimination rippling through the Premier League do not need to be given additional impetus by a spat between Van Persie and the supporters who idolised him until last summer, with the Arsenal boss urging Gunners fans to withhold any vitriol they may have towards the Dutch striker.
"I hope he gets a respectful reception," said Wenger. "We campaign against discrimination of all varieties and it is the same when you disrespect players, Saturday is not about Van Persie. It is about us getting a result.
"I am not surprised he has been a success with United so far. He makes intelligent runs, he is a great finisher. I said before it seemed strange to see him scoring goals for Manchester United, but this is football. We made a decision to sell Robin, he decided to join United, that's it."
There was a tinge of regret when asked whether the Dutchman is being missed at the Emirates though.
"One of the parts of my job is to have a positive influence on people's lives as a player," added Wenger. "When you manage to do that, you are always kind of satisfied. You want to try and have a positive influence on people you cross in your life. I think my influence was not too bad.
"It is very difficult to answer how much we are missing him because at the moment, I am focused on doing well with the players I have. To start to think 'how much do we miss him?' will not help us to do well."
Meanwhile, Wenger issued a veiled criticism of Chelsea for their handling of the on-going feud with referee Mark Clattenburg, as he hinted they were hasty in issuing their public pronouncements in the hours after Sunday's heated defeat against Manchester United.
Chelsea have followed through with their push for Clattenburg to be investigated for what is being reported as 'racist' comments he made in the direction of midfielder John Obi Mikel, but Wenger insists the issue should have been resolved in a more private setting.
"I am not a fan when the lawyers get involved," he stated. "What we have seen the last two nights in the Capital One Cup has been a great adervt for football. Instead this is the issue and this is why I say it is better to resolve any issues internally.
"I have not always behaved perfectly in heated situations and maybe the referees don't always behave perfectly, bit one of the great things in sport, especially in English football, is things can be resolved through tolerance, forgiveness and explanation. It should stay like that."