Wenger angrily denies contract talks
Soccer:Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at "wrong information" intended to "harm" following reports the club had opened talks over a contract extension. The Gunners host Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League showdown tomorrow night just a few days after crashing out of the FA Cup at home to npower Championship Blackburn.
Reports this morning suggested that despite the Gunners facing up to what could be an eighth season without a trophy, negotiations had already started with Wenger over a new deal, his current set to expire in the summer of 2014.
However, Wenger (63) went on the offensive at his pre-match press conference on this afternoon, looking to set the record straight.
"That is the wrong information and I work for 16 years in England and I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm," the Arsenal boss said. "If it is good information which comes from nowhere it is all right, but this is wrong information that comes from nowhere and it is completely wrong."
Wenger then became involved in a heated exchange with a journalist, adding: "I look at you not because you give information, I do not know if it is you, I do not know where the information comes from. Why do you look at me? I just thought you had given this information out.
"Here, this is a pre-match conference for the Champions League, if you want to talk about Saturday, that press conference has been made after the game. Can we get some questions about tomorrow's game? That would be very nice."
Wenger feels it is important to "take a distance" from Saturday's disappointment, where a scrappy goal from former Arsenal trainee Colin Kazim-Richards inflicted a first FA Cup defeat by lower-league opposition on his side.
He said: "We have to analyse the game. We lost to a team who had one shot at goal, it is not like we have not touched the ball in the Blackburn game. Football is about skill, intelligence and some things as well are a bit unpredictable."
Wenger stressed his team must take no notice of the negative headlines and broken cannon motifs if they are to progress over two legs against the Bundesliga giants.
"We know well what is going on here. What is important is to forget what people say and focus on our strengths," he said. "We play for Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions league, we have qualified for a long, long time. What is important is not what people say it is what happens on the pitch. We live in a democracy of experts and opinions, but we have to live with that and cope with that and show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion. There are a lot of experts who are not necessarily always right."
Wenger added: "There is a lot of superficial analysis. We have to accept we take the blame for going out (of the FA Cup), but you have to put things into perspective. You have to really analyse it, just because one guy says one thing, everybody has to go the same way."
Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has leapt to the defence of Wenger.
"You have to take into consideration that Arsenal are competing with teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City," he said. "The way I see it, over the years they have been selling their best players whereas the other teams get in these world stars. If you have to compete with that I don't think it is fair to blame Arsene Wenger.
"Wenger is a great coach. You see the way his teams play. Arsenal has a lot of tradition and history. They play attractive football. If you take away the game against Blackburn they have been very positive. They're fifth in the league. They will be a very difficult opponent for us tomorrow."
Heynckes is, of course, no stranger to the pressures associated with leading a big club after two seasons with Bayern. The 67-year-old took the Bavarians to the Champions League and DFB-Pokal finals last year without wining either. They were also pipped to the Bundesliga by Borussia Dortmund and Heynckes, who will hand over the reins to Pep Guardiola in the summer, revealed he had been forced to change his team's style to rediscover success.
"Last season we had a great season, but if you are Bayern Munich if you do not win the title it is simply not enough," he said. "Two years at Bayern Munich without a title - you have to do something about that. This season we've changed a few things around. We've improved in defence and our switching of the play. What is very important for me is that all players have learned they must defend and attack.
"The players have the motivation. They have a hunger for success. That is an important factor for us moving forward."