Wenger: I would never resign
Arsene Wenger has insisted he never considered walking away from the biggest crisis of his 16-year reign as Arsenal manager, but he has refused to be drawn on any speculation that he will remain in charge at the club beyond the end of his current contract in 2014.
Wenger's agitated and angry exchanges with journalists ahead of the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday night led many to conclude the veteran boss was cracking under the pressure of another season of indifferent results, but he has moved to insist he has no intention of leaving Arsenal any time soon.
After their FA Cup defeat against Blackburn was quickly followed by a thumping defeat against Bayern to ensure this has been the most traumatic week of his historic reign as Arsenal boss, Wenger admits he has been rocked by setbacks he was not expecting and yet quitting is not an option he has considered.
When asked whether there had been a moment of the last week when he considered resigning as Arsenal boss, Wenger was unequivocal in his response.
"Never, not for one second," he stressed. "The love for the game and the love to win (keeps me motivated).
"I will not come out with my feelings (on negative publicity of the last week). What is important for me is to focus on the next game and try to give my best, like all the players.
"My spark has nothing to do with the length of your life. It is just how you are. You are motivated by how much you want to win and how much you want to be a winner. If I go out against you now in a one-on-one, you will see that I will beat you. At least if I don't, I will want to beat you. That will be the same so long as I can move."
It was when the questions turned to his future that Wenger gave the biggest hint yet that he may not remain at Arsenal for too much longer, as he insisted he was working to a short term plan and would not consider extending his stay beyond next year for now.
"I have a contract until 2014 and at the moment I am on a short term plan," he stated. "For two reasons. One I have been here for a long time and two, I have to consider what I want to do. That will be considered in 2014."
Wenger went on to comment on the events at the board meeting he attended along with Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke on Thursday, as he insisted there was not change of mood with regards to his future at the club.
"The board meeting speaks about many things, it is about commercial, ticket prices, long term plans," he said. "I make my report as well on the technical side so it was the usual thing. Of course we had no euphoria because we have gone through a disappointment on Tuesday night, but apart from that we are responsible people who know what it is to fight."
With smiles and laughter replacing the tension that filled the media room at Arsenal's London Colney training base last Monday, Wenger proceeded to calmly pick his way through a host of questions that would have been greeted with a very different reaction just a few days ago, yet he insists his anger over a misleading story in The Sun newspaper on Monday has dispersed.
"I have calmed down," he said with a chuckle. "Whether the (problems) we have are exaggerated is hard to say. There is emotion and it is down to people who have responsibility to put that into perspective, keep solid and guide the club in the right way. My responsibility is to keep the guideline and to guide the team and the club."