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Feb 18, 2013

Wenger explains media meltdown

Arsenal manager loses his temper during his pre-match press conference.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has moved to explain why he lost his temper over reports that he may be set to extend his career as boss at the Emirates.

• Palmer: Wenger snaps at media
• Blog: Are you sitting comfortably?
• Blog: Workmanlike Bayern
• Arteta: We can't start slowly

Reporters pressed Wenger to expand on why he was so irate about what seemed like a positive story surrounding his future at the club, despite their FA Cup defeat at the hands of Blackburn on Saturday.

Yet Wenger believes the article in The Sun newspaper on Monday morning claiming he was ready to sign a two-year contract extension was a malicious attempt to whip up the fury of supporters irate by the direction the club is being taken in by the manager and his board.

"Why does this story just come out when we lose a big game," questioned Wenger. "In your opinion? You think I am so naive that I don't see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot?

"The lie is targeted to hurt. It's easy to say people are not happy and, on top of that, to say he's extending the contract. That's what I mean. I've worked here for 16 years and when I say I deserve more credit, that's not about respect and everybody saying I'm doing well. It is morally. I think that's right.

"I am angry because when you give wrong information like that, there's not only wrong information behind that. What I don't accept is lies and when the target behind it is to manipulate people."

Earlier, a furious Arsene Wenger angrily denied suggestions that he is about to sign a new contract as Arsenal manager, as his latest press conference turned into a fractious war of words at the Gunners' London Colney training base.

After facing up to a weekend of criticism from the media, Wenger was in confrontational mood as he faced up to his adversaries with unusual feistiness and responded angrily when quizzed on the rumours of a fresh contract.

"This is wrong information," snapped Wenger, when asked whether he was about to sign a new two-year contract. "I have worked for 16 years here in England and I deserve a bit more credit that giving out wrong information that only has one intention, which is to harm.

"If it is good information, it's alright, but this is wrong information and comes from nowhere. It is wrong. I don't know where the information comes from."

An increasingly irate Wenger went on to lash out at the "democracy of experts" who have been quick to lambast him in the hours since the Blackburn defeat, as he insisted he will not be shaken by the criticism flowing in his direction.

"We know how it is going here (with the media)," he continued. "What is important is not to forget what people say here and focus on our strength. We play for Arsenal Football Club in the last-16 of the Champions League. We have qualified for a long time and it is not important what people say. What is important is what happens on the football pitch.

"We live in a democracy of experts and opinions and we have to live with that, cope with that. We have to show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion. There are a lot of experts who are not always right."

Wenger went on to hit back at critics who have accused him of not taking the FA Cup seriously after he rested a host of star names from starting line-up at Blackburn on Saturday, as the tension in the room continued to simmer.

"Look, I have been accused of not taking seriously the FA Cup on Saturday," barked Wenger. "I have won the FA Cup four times. Who has won it more? Give me one name.

"The second thing is we have been accused of not putting out a strong team out I think that is an insult to the players who started the game because we have 11 international football players on the pitch. I would like to tell you, we didn't lose the game with the players who started, but in the last 20 minutes.

"We accept we have to take the blame because we went out, but when you analyse it, you have to analyse it properly. When one guy says something, everyone goes the same way.

"Of course we want to win it, but in Europe recently you face opponents who have some quality. Barcelona have some qualities, Real Madrid have some qualities, but they don't win it (the Champions League) every year.

"We have been consistently there and what we want now is to break through. People will say this is not our best opportunity, I think it is a fantastic opportunity for us to do it because I have a fantastic team and I'm sure they will prove me right."

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