Sunday, December 14, 2014 4:24 am
Arsene Wenger hopes he can continue to silence his critics after Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Newcastle lifted the pressure that has been steadily building on him.
Dissatisfaction with the veteran Gunners boss has grown this season to new levels but chants of “there’s only one #ArseneWenger” rang out at Emirates Stadium towards the end of a dominant Arsenal display on Saturday.
That must have been music to the Frenchman’s ears after the he was verbally abused by his own supporters last week, while frustrated fans have also displayed a banner calling on Wenger to step down.
After 18 years in the job, the Premier League’s longest-serving manager said: “My job is to win football games and make people happy.
“I work for 18 years in this country and I am grateful for that. I have been accepted, 99.9 per cent with a big respect. I can take the 0.1 per cent and live with it but my job is to make people happy.
“If they are not happy, I have to live with it.
“But I’m thankful for the fans singing my name at the end of the match, but what you want is for our fans to be happy because we win football games.”
Wenger was cheered as Oliver Giroud and Santi Cazorla struck two goals each in arguably Arsenal’s best performance of the season.
Giroud’s three-month absence with an ankle injury was a body blow to Arsenal but the France striker underlined why he is such an important cog in Wenger’s wheel.
Wenger added: “Olivier is still not 100 per cent there but he is still a presence. He deflects well, plays good one-twos and protects when we have to kick it long.
“He can still score goals and is a physical presence.”
Giroud was pleased to hear Wenger’s name being sung and insists he is the right man to be in the Arsenal hot-seat.
He added: “It’s nice to hear the fans supporting the boss.
“It’s always the same when you’re losing a game, it’s always like that and the first man in front of the criticism is the boss.
“It’s part of our job but we are one pack and we will be always together, so keep the faith, keep working hard and I think there’s nothing about a change of boss because he’s the man of the situation.”
Arsenal now have a week off and in between discover their Champions League last 16 opponents.
But Newcastle have a League Cup quarter-final tie against Tottenham to contend with and manager Alan Pardew wants a response from his team.
“The one thing I can say about this team is that we don’t give up,” said Pardew.
“There is so much belief there. They never give in. The game against Arsenal was just a bridge too far for us.
“We’ve been on a fantastic run. You want a response and the plan is get back off and running again.”