By Chris Harris

“I did not see it,” has been a popular refrain of Arsène Wenger’s in the wake of controversial incidents on the football pitch.

Now the Frenchman has held his hands up. Wenger has seen more than he’s let on in the past but decided to be economical with the truth to protect his players.

The Arsenal manager raised a laugh when the topic cropped up at his pre-match press conference on Friday but there was a serious side to his admission. As Wenger explained, he prefers not to stoke the fires of controversy without having all the facts at his disposal.

“It has happened once or twice [when I pretended not to see something on the pitch] but I believe that I have nothing to lie about that, it was just honesty,” he said.

“When I did it, I did it to protect the players because you don’t know what happened before that incident and that’s why.

“I am not especially keen to do it again, most of the time I don’t believe it’s down to me to see things happening on the pitch. When there are incidents it is down to the referees.

“Now when I say I didn’t see something and I really didn’t see it, you don’t believe me. So that’s the price I have to pay for that!”

Copyright 2014 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 14 Aug 2009