Wenger takes issue with Scholes’ criticism
‘Everybody has opinions, people who have managed zero games have opinions and we have to accept that’
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “We are in a society where there are thousands of opinions every day, and some go for you and some go against you. You have to live with that.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit back at comments from former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, who claimed the Gunners were “a million miles away” from challenging for the Premier League title.
Arsenal tackle a rampant Manchester City side — who won 3-0 at Old Trafford in midweek — on Saturday afternoon following the disappointment of conceding a late own goal in a 2-2 draw against Swansea.
That match had seemed set to draw a line under the 6-0 humiliation at Chelsea which ruined Wenger’s 1,000th match in charge, with Arsenal coming from behind to lead with two quick second-half goals.
In his role as a TV pundit, Scholes launched a fierce attack on Arsenal under Wenger, claiming they had “midfield players with no discipline” and adding that “there are no leaders” at the north London club.
“If six points (from the top) is a million miles away, then I don’t know what the translation from a mile into a point is,” Wenger said on Friday morning.
“Everybody has opinions, people who have managed zero games have opinions and we have to accept that.
“What you live with is what you do on the pitch, and all the rest is only opinions.
“We are in a society where there are thousands of opinions every day, and some go for you and some go against you. You have to live with that.”
Wenger added: “We have not given up (on the title), believe me and we can show that on Saturday. It is our attitude that will decide that.
“Champions keep going when everybody else would give up. We have an opportunity to show that we have that mentality.”
Former England international Scholes also questioned the development of Wilshere, who had yet to go onto the “next level”.
Wenger, though, also rejected those claims.
The Gunners boss said: “You cannot say that, Jack Wilshere is an exceptional player for me who has been handicapped by many injuries.
“Once Jack is back and consistently on the pitch, he will prove everybody wrong about that because he is an exceptional player — and Scholes knows that as well.”
Wilshere is currently recovering from a fractured foot suffered when playing for England in a friendly against Denmark at the start of March.
Wenger expects the combative midfielder to complete his recovery in time to play some part in the final matches of the domestic season and also be available for the World Cup.
“Jack Wilshere needs more time. I don’t know exactly how long, he works very hard on his rehab and it is a fractured bone so you cannot accelerate that process,” Wenger said.
“But yes, for the World Cup certainly (he will be back).”
It has been reported Manchester City are ready to offer Arsenal full-back Bacary Sagna a lucrative deal when his current contract expires in the summer.
Wenger, though, rejected those suggestions, insisting the club were hopeful the 31-year-old France international would choose to stay on at the Emirates Stadium.
“That (Man City offer) cannot be right because it is illegal,” he said. “Sagna has an offer, he has not come back to us yet.”
“I am confident he will stay, but we will accept his decision
“No matter what his decision will be, we will accept it and go on with it.”
Wenger himself has yet to formally agree to stay on past the summer, but sees no reason for alarm.
The 64-year-old said: “Look, I told you many times my commitment is not questionable and I have given my word.
“I always respect my word — it is as simple as that.”