Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has shared how uncertainty over his future last season created a “lack of clarity in the dressing room” and saw players asking him what was really happening.
Wenger eventually signed a new two-year contract extension following a mixed end to a campaign with victory in the FA Cup final after failing to secure Champions League qualification for the very first time under his long stint at the club.
During a panel discussion, Wenger allowed questions from the audience and was asked directly if the tantrum from some sections of Arsenal fans over his future had spread through to the team’s performances on the pitch.
Arsene Wenger replied: “I had an impact on the season, because at some stage the players came to see me and said: ‘What’s going on boss? Where do you go?’
“I created, with me not deciding, a lack of clarity in the dressing room and there is nothing worse than that in the dressing room.
“When you are not completely in or the players feel you are not completely in, it is difficult to tell them we go [out to win].
“At some stage, I had to tell them, ‘Look guys, I am with you, but we have to win games.”’
“It created uncertainty in the dressing room and then when you don’t win the game, you know… there were some other problems.”
The Arsenal manager added: “It was linked to the fact that you always wonder am I the right man to continue to do the job?
“Always when I have faced opposition or unhappiness, I try to focus on what I think is important in the game, work harder and question myself, what can I improve? And move on from there.
“I cannot say I am immune to criticism — everybody wants to be loved, everybody wants to be loved by the fans.
“But when it doesn’t happen, you still have to fight and manage to keep your motivation at the highest level.”