Defeat at United a real test, says Arsene Wenger
Shell-shocked Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he must be big enough to handle the stick he will receive following his side's humiliating 8-2 defeat at Manchester United.
The loss was the Gunners' worst since the 19th century, and a Second Division encounter with Loughborough that belonged to a completely different era.
It was Arsenal's heaviest ever against United and drew immediate criticism from former player Paul Merson, who will doubtless lead a long list of pundits and fans alike whose disenchantment following six trophyless seasons is bubbling over.
"I am in a public job and I have to accept that," he said. "I have to make the right decision for the club and I will continue to do that.
"We have played three games and I think you should give me more time to say if I have got it completely wrong."
To his credit, Wenger refused to offer any excuses for his side's woeful efforts.
He did confirm the arrival Korean striker Park Chu-yong, although with Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen joining a lengthy injury list that includes Jack Wilshere, following on from the high-profile departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, the visitors had neither the physical nor mental reserves to cope.
"We had too many players out. It was too much," he said.
"We were poor defensively but there were points in the game where we had quality.
"I just feel we collapsed more physically than anything. It is better not to talk too much about this because it hurts.
"We have to sort out our problems because so far, we haven't managed to do that.
"We are working very hard to find players but of course we are behind the other teams when it comes to wages."
Yet, for now at least, Wenger is refusing to contemplate his own future, even though, following Carl Jenkinson's red card for two bookable offences, Arsenal have now had a man sent off in all three Premier League games, from which they have collected a single point.
"No," said Wenger, when asked if he would quit. "Of course it hurts. It's humiliating.
"But you could see we had not recovered physically from Wednesday. They had class and they punished us."