Arsene Wenger says he has been “hurt” by Arsenal having to play in a “sceptical environment” as they chase the Premier League title.
Arsenal won 2-0 at Everton on Saturday to keep in touching distance of Leicester City and Tottenham – the Gunners are 11 points off the summit with a game in hand – but there were once again banners held aloft by the visiting supporters calling for Wenger to leave the club.
Wenger has come under heavy fire in recent weeks, with Arsenal slipping off the pace in the Premier League and exiting both the Champions League and FA Cup, but the Frenchman says the team could have done with more help from the stands.
“What hurts me is that at the important moment of the season we played in a sceptical environment,” Wenger said.
“I think after the Tottenham game where we played a very good game with 10 men against 11 and came back to 2-2, I couldn’t understand why – at the moment when you need everyone behind the team – we had to hit that storm.
“From the media, OK. From our fans? It is a bit more difficult to take.
“I never complain about critics, especially when they are turned against me. But we have to get the fans behind us with our attitude, and make sure that they stand behind the team until the end of the season.”
Despite the criticism, Wenger maintains he has no intention of leaving Emirates Stadium any time soon.
“I built this club over 19 years with the quality of my work, not with resources from outside,” said Wenger. “Not with big sponsorship but by caring about every pound that I spent.
“The club has moved forward a lot. I just want to continue that.”