I don't take criticism too personally - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

I don't take criticism too personally - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger does not take stinging criticism from a vocal minority of Arsenal fans calling for his head personally and "hates himself" when the Gunners lose.

The 67-year-old is still yet to publicly announce whether he will sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium or end his 20-year reign when his deal expires at the end of the season.

Protests against any new offer have ramped up in recent weeks following a poor spell of results which has seen Arsenal slip out of the Premier League's top four and crash out of the Champions League.

Even securing a place in the FA Cup final has not been enough to dissuade the dissenters, with marches, leaflets, banners and large-scale projected images onto the side of the Emirates all calling for Wenger to leave.

Aside from the 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace last month, the atmosphere has generally been better inside stadiums and during matches.

But Wenger is all too aware of the protests, with crowdfunding pages still running to gather donations and continue such stunts.

The Frenchman is in real danger of seeing Arsenal finish outside of the top four for the first time since his appointment in late 1996, but has distanced himself from feeling any pain from the protests.

Speaking to Norwegian television channel TV2, he said: "I am like everybody - I prefer to be loved than hated but I can take a distance with that.

"I know as well it is not the person itself, it is the fact the manager does not win the games. They want to win and I can make a difference in that.

"I don't take it too personally. In fact, I personally hate myself - the manager - more than anybody when I don't win the games. I am a very bad loser."

Arsenal have not won the league since 2004 but have lifted the FA Cup in two of the last three campaigns, and Wenger pointed to the lack of domestic dominance of other big clubs to show how difficult continued success can be.

"People want to win," he added.

"If you don't win the championship, the FA Cup, the Champions League, it is absolutely disastrous. But if you look back in the last three years, we won the FA Cup twice and finished second, third and fourth.

"We are in the FA Cup final again. Overall, I believe we are not happy because you want to win absolutely everything.

"But you have to accept as well that Real Madrid has not won their championship for five years. They are big clubs - it is difficult. Liverpool hasn't won it for over 20. Just because you turn up doesn't mean you win. It is difficult to win."

Wenger comes up against long-term adversary Jose Mourinho on Sunday as Manchester United visit north London.

He has never beaten the Portuguese in 12 previous Premier League meetings but needs to break that duck this weekend if the fans are to show any of the love he is craving.

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