Arsène Wenger calls for Arsenal fans not to turn on their team
Arsenal face Hull at the end of a week of much unrest after a banner at last week’s game
Arsène Wenger has called for unity after Arsenal’s dismal week in the Premier League, insisting it “doesn’t make sense” for fans to turn against the team. Photo: Getty Images
Arsène Wenger has called for unity after Arsenal’s dismal week in the Premier League, insisting it “doesn’t make sense” for fans to turn against the team.
After losing matches against Watford and Chelsea, Arsenal are 12 points behind the league leaders in fourth position. Discontent amongst the support has also become a talking point after a banner calling for Wenger to leave the club sparked a public rebuke from the TV pundit Gary Neville. Wenger admits Arsenal are in a fight even to qualify for the Champions League but called for fans to stay behind his team when they face Hull at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
“Our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation, as I have as well,” Wenger said. “But I don’t feel it is absolutely clear. You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday and not be behind the team this Saturday – it doesn’t make sense.
“All the other clubs we fight with, Man United, Man City and Liverpool, they have big expectations as well and big histories. We are in a fight there. We absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it. Everyone is in the fight and everyone is behind their team. We have to do exactly the same, even if we had two disappointing results.”
Having previously described the matches against Watford and Chelsea as a defining week in his team’s season, Wenger insisted the challenge for his team to pick themselves up was just as important.
“We are here to win football games so when we don’t win football games we are very disappointed,” he said. “But this is an interesting week as well because it’s a good test at an important moment of the season and it’s as well a good opportunity to show what we are made of.
“We have a big fight in the Premier League, a big fight in the Champions League and we still have the FA Cup as well. We want to do well in all three competitions and that’s why it’s important that we focus, respond and get our fans behind the team, because this is an important and very sensitive part of the season – and we have to respond to disappointment together.”
Wenger confirmed that Mohammed Elneny, whose Egypt team lost the Africa Cup of Nations final, had returned to training but said he was waiting for medical reports on Héctor Bellerín, who was concussed in the buildup to Chelsea’s opening goal last Saturday.
“We have the question about Héctor Bellerín,” Wenger said. “He’s going for tests and we’ll only know tomorrow if he gets the green light from the medical people to practise or not. At the moment he has not practised.”