We must show mental strength: Wenger

Feb 19, 2013, 09:28 IST | AFP

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rounded angrily on his critics ahead of tonight's crucial Champions League last 16 first leg tie against Bayern Munich

Wenger was in a tetchy mood yesterday after suffering a barrage of abuse from fans and pundits following his side’s FA Cup exit on Saturday, when the Gunners were beaten 1-0 at home by Blackburn.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) with midfielder Jack Wilshere during training on the eve of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich in London yesterday. Pic/AFP

That represented the second humiliation of Arsenal's lacklustre campaign following their elimination from the League Cup at the hands of fourth-tier Bradford.
After enduring 48 hours of criticism in the court of public opinion, Wenger made it clear he felt it was time for him to have his say, and that he expected his players to back up his words on the pitch against Bayern Munich.

“We play for Arsenal, we are in the last 16 of the Champions League, we have qualified for a long, long time,” Wenger said at a pre-match press conference.

“What is important is not what people say but what we produce on the football pitch. We have to show we have the mental strength to deal with any opinion.”

Critics claimed Wenger was wrong to send out a starting line-up against Blackburn that had not included Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere or Santi Cazorla. But all three came on as subs with the game goal-less. Wenger said: “I have been accused of not taking seriously the FA Cup on Saturday. I won the FA Cup four times. Who has won it more,” asked Wenger.

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