Arsenal hurt by lack of unity, says departing manager

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the lack of unity among fans in recent seasons has been “hurtful” to the club.

The Frenchman announced on Friday he would step down at the end of the season after almost 22 years in charge.

Some fans have turned on Wenger as they look set to miss out on a Premier League top-four spot for the second successive season.

“The image we gave from our club is not what it is and not what I like,” said Wenger, 68.

Arsenal beat West Ham 4-1 on Sunday to stay sixth in the top flight.

The Gunners finished outside the top four last term for the first time since Wenger arrived at the club, and are now 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, with four matches remaining.

Their hopes of reaching the Champions League rest on winning the Europa League.

Fans have held “Wenger out” signs at Arsenal matches, while there have been empty seats at home games in recent months.

“I was not tired,” said Wenger after Sunday’s win, when talking about his decision to quit.

“Personally I believe this club is respected all over the world, much more than in England.

“The fans did not give me the image of unity I want all over the world and that was hurtful because I think the club is respected”.

Wenger, who has won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups at Arsenal, added: “I’m not resentful and I do not want to make stupid headlines.

“I’m not resentful with the fans, I just feel if my personality is in the way of what I think our club is, for me that is more important than me.

“That is what I want to say, it is nothing to do with the fans. The fans were not happy – I can understand that. That is my job and I have to live with that, I can accept that.”

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