Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Wenger: We must rise above protests

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger maintains his Arsenal team must rise above any off-field protests as they look to fight their way back into the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

Some disgruntled Gunners supporters are planning to put black bin liners over any empty seats at Emirates Stadium against Blackburn on Saturday, highlighting their claims many fans are staying away because of poor performances which have seen Arsenal slump to seventh in the table.

When asked by Press Association Sport for his reaction to the latest planned protests, Wenger said: "I would not like to make any comment on that, I feel we have to be above that and show our quality on the football pitch and not respond to every individual provocation."

Wenger has himself been the subject of increased criticism from some sections of the stands in recent weeks, which saw the Gunners suffer three straight league defeats before their midweek goalless draw at Bolton.

The Arsenal manager, though, insists all is not yet lost and the team have to take a distance as they focus on the job in hand on the pitch, and added: "I believe we played 15 years on the trot in the Champions League and we play in 10 days in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We want to come back in the Champions League position in the league, we want to prepare properly for the next round of the FA Cup and I wish that in the next 16 years it will be exactly the same for the club and that the fans will be happy. After that, what can I say?

"Ideally I want everybody to be completely happy and over the moon, but we live in a world where you have to accept that not everybody reacts the same."

Rovers boss Steve Kean has also found himself under fire from the club's supporters this season as they struggle at the other end of the table, and Wenger feels people everywhere need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

"It is not easy anywhere nowadays, but with the media and the opinions of everybody we live in a constant drama. But it is not like that," the Arsenal boss added. "Football is a happy moment where people come together to watch the team they love.

"We have to stop making a drama of everything. There are much more dreadful things in life than that. We have to keep focused on the fact that we have a fantastic opportunity to play football and we want to focus on that with happy minds, not always to be in a drama."

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