By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has defended his decision to speak out in the debate over the weakened team Mick McCarthy fielded against Manchester United on Tuesday night.

In midweek, Wolves went down 3-0 at Old Trafford after their manager decided to rest players for, what was deemed to be, a more winnable game at home to Burnley on Saturday.

After his side drew at Turf Moor the following night, Wenger was critical of the move, suggesting that Arsenal were now competing with Manchester United “over 37, not 38, games” this season.

The Frenchman’s quotes drew a sharp reaction from other top-flight managers. But, at Friday’s press conference, Wenger was standing firm.

“I gave you my opinion,” he told the listening journalists. “I do not want to go into controversy with any managers. I respect that people have their own opinion – that does not have to be personal.

“I am one of the few who says what he really thinks about the situation. I am not scared to get different opinions that have a go at me. I give my opinion without any aggression or anything bad about an individual. I just say what I think about the situation. That’s it.

“What I said makes common sense but many people, because they don’t want aggravation, they don’t say a word. I can live with that.

“The teams that fight with Wolves not to go down will be happy that they threw three points away at Man United,” Wenger went on. “Why should they complain about that?

“I just feel at the start when you organise the fixtures you would like everybody to have, as much as possible, the same amount of games and rest days.

“If, like some people say, it has no importance at all why do we not play every day? Why do some teams not play at all for three weeks and other teams play every day? I believe that all this is just part of fairness.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
18 Dec 2009