Arsene Wenger has refused to blame Arsenal’s poor run on the uncertainty over his future, claiming it would be an “easy excuse”.
The Gunners have lost six of their last nine games, crashing out of the Champions League and slipping to sixth in the Premier League in the process.
The alarming slide in form has sparked supporters’ protests against Wenger’s reign with the Frenchman yet to announce whether he will sign a new deal at the club as his current contract expires at the end of the season.
Wenger revealed after the 3-1 loss at West Brom before the international break that he had made up his mind whether he will stay or go – but has still to reveal his decision.
A third protest is scheduled before Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Manchester City as Arsenal look to get their season back on track.
But Wenger insists the speculation regarding his future is having no impact on his players, despite such a poor recent record.
“It would be an easy excuse and I could be out of contract and I am at the end of the season and still perform,” he told Sky Sports News.
“For me whether I stay three years or 10 years I have exactly the same commitment and the same desire to win the next game.
“I believe as well we are in the position where we do not have to find easy excuses. Our job is to perform – can you perform despite that?”
Wenger has called for his players to “be men” and concern themselves more with performances on the pitch rather than any uncertainty off of it.
“I personally believe that, to be professional, is to perform on a football pitch and not look for excuses that are not real problems outside the pitch,” he said.
“The situation is not sorted out and I believe at the moment we probably focus on what is essential.
“My attachment to this club, at the moment it is as it is and I do not see any escape route to have less responsibilities because I might not be here. We have to be men and focus on what matters and what is our job.
“If the worst you can accuse me of in 20 years at the club is to create instability (because of the contract uncertainty)…. I think, if I created something, it is stability.”
Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal for over 20 years and has never finished outside of the Premier League top four in any full season at the helm.
He now faces a tough challenge to keep that run going and wants everyone at the club to overcome what is an unfamiliar position for most of them.
Asked about current form, Wenger said: “I’m concerned because we have bad results and we are not where we want to be, especially in our last game we didn’t produce a performance that we wanted to produce.
“We want to play at the top of the Premier League and therefore, of course, when you are responsible you’re concerned because the confidence drops quickly and you need belief to play well in football. It’s important we recreate and rebuild quickly to bring back desire and confidence.
“It’s the first time it’s happened to us and that’s why the team is not used to dealing with that. I believe it’s just down to our desire, mental strengths and when you’re men, you want to take care of your future.”