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Saturday, November 24, 2012
Wenger hits back over fan criticism

Arsene Wenger has hit back at his critics after Arsenal fans chanted 'you don't know what you're doing' towards the end of the goalless draw at Aston Villa.

Supporters launched their attack on the Gunners boss after he replaced Olivier Giroud with Francis Coquelin with two minutes remaining. Wenger refused to comment on that outburst or why he made the change but he was in a fighting mood when asked about the chants in his post-match press conference.

He said: "I don't want to comment on that. I do my job and do my best for the club. I leave it to you to judge. I try to be as good as I can be. Is it hurtful? Look, I have managed for 30 years at the top level and I have to convince you I can manage the team?

"How many games have you managed? I promise you if you manage one I will sit in the stands and chant 'you know what you are doing!'''

When questioned about the substitution, Wenger said: "You can discuss every substitution. You think what you want. I do my job and I let people judge it. I do that every day and I do my best every day. I know why I do it.

"What is the thinking behind the substitution? I will not explain every decision I make, you judge the game for the papers and I sit here and explain to you our game. You are all great managers! I read the newspapers every day and I can tell you that you are always great managers!''

Wenger denies his reluctance to explain his substitution will cause a rift with Gunners supporters. He said: "Why should I create a rift? I have given you the answer.''

On the playing side, Wenger felt a hectic week in which Arsenal defeated Tottenham and then overcame Montpellier in the Champions League took its toll on Arsenal.

He said: "We were a little bit frustrated. We expected a difficult game because we played an intense game last Saturday against Tottenham. We had a Champions League game on Wednesday night so we knew it would be hard.

"Always, when you play away from home after the Champions League it can be difficult. We lacked a bit of sharpness today in the final third. Physically we were jaded.''

Wenger defended his decision not to play Jack Wilshere after the midfielder's long injury lay-off, given the wet and windy conditions.

He said: "I decided that Jack was to be rested today and to not bring him on. It's more dangerous to bring him on in weather like that when he's tired. It made sense for him not to play today.''

Villa boss Paul Lambert, who watched the game from the stands because of a one-match ban, was full of praise for his side's performance - which moved them out of the bottom three.

He said: "We've played the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal in back-to-back games and it's a tough thing mentally. But I thought we played really well today. We were excellent and might have nicked it.

"We defended really strongly. We are playing really well. We are a young side which is growing together and the way we are playing, we are a threat.''

Lambert defended his decision not to include fit-again striker Darren Bent amongst the 18 players selected to face Arsenal.

He said: "It is my choice. I thought the squad I went with could win us the game. I've got 25-26 players to think about. The most important thing is this football club and I pick a team and squad I think will do well."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report




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