It has been one of the most difficult seasons of Arsene Wenger’s long reign at Arsenal - but it ended on a high as we lifted the Emirates FA Cup.
It was the 13th time we have lifted the trophy in our history, and was the seventh time the boss has won it - making him the most successful manager in the competition’s history.
Afterwards he spoke to the media, and this is what he said:
on winning more FA Cups than any other manager…I am very proud because nobody has done it. It’s not easy. I’m especially proud of the way we won this time because we had to play against Manchester City in the semi-final here and then Chelsea here. You cannot get tougher. We had two outstanding performances so this cup was won with special spirit and special attitude.
on how the team’s preparation differed for this game…I would say that if you look at our recent performances, we’ve won seven out of eight games in a very convincing way with great performances. If you look at us until December, we had gone 20 games unbeaten. This season, more than ever, has been hurt by some blips in March. I am convinced now, after looking back at the season, by the uncertainty of my future [affecting] the players.
on whether winning the cup influences his decision on his future…No. It’s a positive trend but it would be a bit ridiculous that 20 years depend on one game and that the future of the club depends on one game. We’ll know more next week.
on whether he thinks this is a perfect way to say farewell…There’s no perfect way. I just want to do well for this club. Apart from that, after that it’s down to the board members to decide if I’m the right man to take this club further, and for me to decide whether I am the right man to take this club further. That’s it. It’s not about popularity, it’s about competence.
on whether he still believes he is the right manager…I do because you cannot manage for 35 years at the top level if you don’t believe you’re the right man to do the job.
on whether he feels a sense of vindication…I am in a public job and I accept criticism and that people don’t agree with me. Once the game starts and you’re a fan, you stand behind the team. That’s what I did not accept during the season and that I have never accepted. I think this club has special values and we have shown that again today. All the rest is, for me, not acceptable. After the game, I accept that I’ve never had a word with any journalist in 20 years when they’ve criticised my opinions or my decisions. It’s the same with the fans. I can understand that. When the game starts, the game starts. When you’re a fan, you support your team. We played some games in a very hostile environment and I will never accept that.
on whether this was a vision of how he would like his team to play…If you have followed our last two months, we have had outstanding performances. This team is moving forward, is united and the way that we play suits our players. The way we function gets the best out of the individual qualities of the players. We adapt but I said last week that this team has exceptional potential. If the club buys the right one or two players to strengthen, they will have a word to say next season.
on whether he knows in his mind what he’s doing next season…I know in my mind. Let’s enjoy the win tonight and not worry about the future. Let’s be in the present.
on serving the club…I try to serve this club with the same commitment and quality. The only thing I can say is that this season we’ve had some difficult moments. I’ve spent every moment of my season with full commitment and have refused to give up. That’s why maybe I’m more proud than usual today because the team and myself have refused to give up. When you can finish the job in a positive way, that’s [good].
on whether he’s most proud of this win…Nobody gave us a chance. We have responded with attitude and class, and we have seen that today.
on the backing of the club…I don’t think I can answer that question at the moment. For once I have kept my medal, so that means it’s a special night for me. For the rest, we’ll see what happens in the future. We have to accept what will happen. If I’m still here next season, I will have the same attitude in the press conferences.
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