The Frenchman was speaking to the assembled press ahead of the club’s crucial Premier League clash with Swansea City on Wednesday, and he revealed the pair remain a long way off extending their contracts with the Gunners, as noted by James Olley of the London Evening Standard.
Wenger: "I'm never surprised by the criticism...part of the media...it is excessive and emotional but I don't complain about that."— James Olley (@JamesOlley) March 1, 2016
It was a result that left a lot of Arsenal supporters smarting. After all, the Red Devils fielded a side lacking Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial on the day, and they were still too good for the Gunners, who were close to full strength.
Wenger conceded that the loss was a hammer blow, lamenting a lapse in concentration and hinting the midweek clash with Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League may have hindered their chances, per the Arsenal Twitter feed:
Boss: "We gave a lot against Barcelona and that certainly had an impact on our belief against Manchester United." https://t.co/fh4FyeG5tv— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 1, 2016
They’re claims that won’t wash with a lot of fans. After all, out of the Premier League’s current top three, this Arsenal squad is the most experienced and possesses the most quality.
Yet instances that have held this team back for years continue to materialise, including a degree of naivety from the manger and an inability to perform on the big occasion.
Naturally, Wenger has come in for a substantial amount of criticism. As noted by John Cross of the Daily Mirror, it’s not something that the Frenchman is letting get to him:
Not surprised by criticism? Wenger said: "No, because I've had 20 years and I'm used to it."— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 1, 2016
Wenger said: "I enjoy that people care very much about my future."— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 1, 2016
With Spurs and the Foxes facing difficult games against West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion in the week, this clash with Swansea is a vital one for Arsenal and a chance to get back in the title race.
In the wake of such a shocking showing at Old Trafford, there will be some fans expecting to see more from the club’s star players, including Sanchez, who has struggled for form since returning from injury; Wenger has called for patience when assessing the Chilean’s recent form, per Cross:
Wenger on Sanchez: "he's just coming back from injury, we want him back to his best, the second half was more positive." #afc— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 1, 2016
The Arsenal boss also provided updates on the fitness of a couple of key players in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck:
Will Arsenal win the Premier League this season?
A response is vital from Arsenal here. The club’s supporters have seen the team’s chances in two competitions suffer significant dents in the last week, and anything but three points on Wednesday will surely put an end to their chances of Premier League glory. There’s big pressure on Wenger to rally his players and breathe some life back into their campaign.
Swansea will be tough opposition, though. They haven’t won in four and are still far from safe from relegation, just three points clear of 18th-place Newcastle United. However, the Welsh side have won two and drawn one of their last four games at the Emirates Stadium; a positive result for them this week would leave Wenger under major scrutiny.