Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal were not in decline when Unai Emery succeeded him at The Emirates.
Emery was axed at Arsenal in November just 18 months after replacing Wenger, who managed a 22-year spell in charge of the club.
Emery’s time in north London did not go according to plan and he told France Football last week there were mitigating factors which resulted in his sacking.
“Arsenal was a club on a downward slope for two years before I arrived,” said the 48-year-old, who failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.
“We stopped this fall and even began to rebuild the club with the Europa League final and fifth place in the league, only one point off Tottenham despite the fact that we took just one point in our final five matches.”
However, asked about those comments at the Laureus World Sports Awards, Wenger replied: “In 2017 we made 75 points and won the FA Cup so you cannot say that [Arsenal were in decline] and the year before  we finished second in the league.
“Arsenal is a club that is in a very strong position financially. It has good players, after that when you are a manager you have to stand up for what you do and your result and not look around you. That is the only thing you can do.”
Meanwhile, Wenger said he had no sympathy for Manchester City after the club were banned from European competition for two seasons having been found to have breached financial fair play rules.
The former Arsenal boss, who is credited with coining the phrase “financial doping”, insists City’s punishment – which also includes a £25million fine – is necessary to uphold the spirit of the game.
Speaking at the Awards in Berlin, Wenger said: “The rules are what they are and you have to respect them.
“People who are caught trying to get around the rules in more or less legal ways have to be punished, if it is proven that this has been done on purpose.”