Arsène Wenger has explained why he chose to sign his new contract so early in the season.
A week ago, Arsenal.com officially announced that the Frenchman would be extending his deal beyond its expiry date next summer to 2011. It was a relief to everyone at Emirates Stadium and, Wenger argues, the need for continuity and security was the driving force behind the move.
"I did not want it to become a disturbance," he said. "And it could have become a negative weight on the course of the season.
"At some stage, you stay or you go. If you say you go the last season is very difficult because the club has to turn to the future and the players think 'do I stay, go or extend?'. You cannot make decisions any more.
"I do not expect a special lift [for Saturday] because of that. It stops a few questions in the press conference, but does not change anything on daily business. We work as hard as before and as focused as before, not less.
"I just wanted to put this club into a position where we could have a successful season.
"The manager needs to be focused and not disturbed as well, because if you do not sign, you can be approached, speak with other clubs.
"Now it kills everything. There will be no disturbance at all."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source