'Humiliated' Lehmann sends blunt message to Wenger
The Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has warned Arsène Wenger not to "humiliate" him by leaving on the bench and criticised rival Manuel Almunia after he was left out of the Arsenal squad to play Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Having been dropped it was inevitable that the outspoken German goalkeeper would let rip at some point and he chose a pre-recorded television interview, broadcast last night in Germany while Arsenal played Slavia Prague in the Champions League, to attack. Overlooked in favour of Almunia – and Lukasz Fabianski who was on the bench on Saturday – the 37-year-old Lehmann criticised Wenger. "It's possible that some day I'll feel like talking about the whole issue," Lehmann said. "But at the moment I'm just swallowing it all as part of the humiliation. But I think – and this is aimed at my dear manager – one shouldn't humiliate players for too long."
In front of the press, Lehmann walked straight off the training pitch after the Arsenal first team squad's session on Monday while the rest of the players practised shooting with Almunia. There was also a barb from Lehmann for his fellow goalkeepers. "Wenger spoke of three world class goalkeepers," Lehmann said. "One of them must be me. The other two have proved their class by winning titles? If I think about that, I can't recall any. I'm convinced that I'll be playing again. Almunia has not yet showed that he can win matches for us. I've experienced this situation before and know what the others are expecting from the goalkeeper. I can't imagine he'll be able to handle that."
Having recovered from injuries, Lehmann has not been recalled to the team following mistakes against Fulham and Blackburn Rovers at the start of the season. Yesterday, Wenger said that both he and Gilberto Silva – who has also lost his first team place – had been great "professionals".
"Gilberto and Lehmann are certainly not happy, but their attitude in training is certainly spot on," Wenger said. "My biggest job is to win the next game, and my players are so professional they will always behave like professionals."