Wenger looks to the future
Gunners boss defends his position at Emirates
Last Updated: September 20, 2011 11:25pm
Arsene Wenger would be happy to stay with Arsenal for 'another 14 years' after watching his side survive a Carling Cup scare against Shrewsbury.
Wenger's squad have endured the worst start to a season under the Frenchman, who earlier received the full backing of chief executive Ivan Gazidis in the wake of a dismal run of results and Saturday's 4-3 capitulation at struggling Blackburn.
The misery around Emirates Stadium, with an official attendance of just over 46,500, deepened when James Collins headed the League Two side ahead on 16 minutes.
However, England defender Kieran Gibbs levelled before the break with his first senior goal before the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired in a 25-yard effort on the hour and Yossi Benayoun wrapped things up late on.
When asked if he should consider bringing in a defensive expert - such as former player Martin Keown - to help shore up the backline, the Arsenal manager responded: "I have just completed 30 years of coaching. I don't want to answer this kind of question."
On what has been perceived as a 'vote of confidence' from the board, Wenger continued: "I am not bothered at all by this speculation. I am completely focused on doing well.
"I can understand that people are unhappy and criticise, but you know as well as I know people are very quick to go overboard.
"I accept critics and I do not say it doesn't matter that people criticise us, and like anybody else, I prefer it when they say I am good.
"When we do well we take all the plaudits, so we have to take as well all the blame when it doesn't go as well - but we have as well on both sides to take some distance.
"When it goes well we must not completely believe what people say and when it does not go as well, we must not completely believe it."
Wenger added: "I have just managed 14 years at this club and I have kept them 14 years in the Champions League and I hope it lasts another 14 years."
The Arsenal manager felt the "gamble" of a mixed squad selection had paid off, following what was a "nervy" opening spell.
"Shrewsbury were direct, but not without technique and had some dangerous situations. One-all at half-time was not too bad for us," Wenger said. "In the second half, we took over and then it was all us."
The Arsenal manager added: "We played a young team with a mixture of young players and experienced players.
"We took a gamble and it worked because you could see some players that we haven't seen so much, like Oxlade-Chamberlain and [Francis] Coquelin, have done extremely well and that is positive for the future."
Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner had plenty of empathy for his opposite number.
The veteran former Aston Villa and Wolves boss said: "The reaction of the Arsenal supporters was terrific - they were chanting his name.
"The die-hards were here tonight and that shows you what they think of him and the respect they have for him."
Turner felt his side - who are third in League Two - could have made more of the chances which came their way to add the Gunners to their Carling Cup scalps of Derby and Queen's Park Rangers.
He said: "There is a feeling of disappointment. We had a real go in the first half and once we started to pass the ball, using our pace and mobility, we caused Arsenal some problems - we could have gone 2-0 up, but it was not to be.
"We should have done better for their equaliser, it was bread-and-butter defending, but in the second half, we never got going.
"In the end, we fatigued, could not get near them and were beaten by superior players."