Belfast Telegraph

Wenger will announce future plans 'very soon'

Arsene Wenger has said he will announce his plans "very soon" after reaching a decision about his future as Arsenal manager.

Wenger would not confirm what that decision was but the Frenchman is under increasing pressure with Arsenal's season on the brink of collapse after six defeats in the last nine matches in all competitions.

The Gunners lost again on Saturday, a 3-1 defeat at West Brom leaving them in fifth place in the Premier League and five points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots.

It led to Wenger being asked questions again regarding his future - with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.

"I know what I will do so you will know very soon. You will see," said Wenger. "Today I do not worry about that."

Wenger had previously said that he had yet to decide what he would do, with the offer of a new two-year contract on the table.

The 67-year-old, who has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996, continues to divide opinion among the club's supporters. Anti-Wenger fans flew a plane over The Hawthorns trailing a banner asking him to leave while another later proclaimed "In Arsene We Trust #RESPECTAW".

"I watch the game, I do not watch the stands," said Wenger.

"I believe we have to deal with that and you focus on your job, no matter what people think."

Asked if he felt making his intentions public might help change the atmosphere among supporters, he replied: "I don't know. We are in a unique bad patch like we've never had in 20 years where we lose game after game at the moment and that is much more important than my future."

The Arsenal boss, who insisted that he had not informed anyone at the club of his decision, does not necessarily think the uncertainty surrounding his future is impacting on his players.

"I don't know about that," said Wenger.

"In this job it is like having a problem with your engine, there are problems but you have to find the most important one.

"The most important one today was that we had 77 per cent of possession and didn't create many chances. We have to focus on that."

Defeat against West Brom leaves Arsenal with an uphill struggle to finish in the top four for the 21st consecutive year under Wenger.

The Gunners fell behind to Craig Dawson's header but Alexis Sanchez quickly equalised. A defensive error led to Hal Robson-Kanu restoring West Brom's lead early in the second half before another Dawson header extended the hosts' advantage.

Both of Dawson's goals came from set-pieces, leading to fans and pundits alike questioning Arsenal's attitude.

However, Wenger feels a lack of confidence rather than an attitude problems is at the root of Arsenal's current issues.

"I don't see any of the signs of a lack of attitude," he said.

"You can always use that criticism when you lose a game but I think we took the responsibility to take the game to them, although it didn't work today.

"I think we are short of confidence but I don't think it's an attitude problem.

"We have a big fight and it will be very difficult now (to finish in the top four) but there is no other way than fighting and going down to the last game of the season and then if it is not good enough we have to take the consequences.

"Maybe one day if we don't do it then people will enjoy it being there," added Wenger in a jibe at those who have questioned whether consistently qualifying for the Champions League should be seen as a success.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis admitted that he had worked on set-pieces this week and felt Arsenal were vulnerable.

"They mark zonally so you have to do it a bit different," said Pulis.

"We spent a bit of time on that, we knew if we got the right quality in with the right movement we would get chances.

"Managers do it differently. There are some top managers and great teams who mark zonally. It's just preparing.

"The ball has to be the quality that it was today and then you need to get in those spaces. Luckily for Dawse (Dawson) he got in those two spaces and got two goals."

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