Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger attends a training session on the eve of their Europa League first leg semi-final
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger attends a training session on the eve of their Europa League first leg semi-final

’Not my decision’: Wenger makes big exit admission

ARSENE Wenger has revealed the timing of the decision to announce his departure from Arsenal at the end of the season was not his call.

The club announced last Friday that Wenger will step down in the summer after over 21 years at the helm - with the Frenchman also confirming he intends to continue working following his exit.

The timing of the announcement came as a surprise with the Gunners still fighting to finish as high up in the Premier League as they can and with a Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid on the horizon. The first leg against the LaLiga side takes place at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday night, the second time in four days Wenger has taken charge of a home match following the revelation he will leave.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Arsenal's French defender Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Arsenal's French defender Laurent Koscielny

"The timing was not really my decision," Wenger said when quizzed as to why the announcement came at this point of the season.

"I do my job, keep my routine and focus on what I have to do every day. I prepare well for the game. I think it will be surreal for me when I don't work. At the moment I work like ever.

"You're never sure you do the right thing, but life is interesting because you have to deal with different kinds of situations. Until now, I had a life that was full of different experiences.

"Some were very difficult to deal with, but I always did it. That's another one certainly I will face one day." Former vice-chairman David Dein was the man behind Wenger's shock appointment as Arsenal manager in 1996 and said over the weekend he had already received calls from potential suitors ready to offer the 68-year-old a new challenge.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Arsenal's French defender Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (L) and Arsenal's French defender Laurent Koscielny

Wenger said after Sunday's 4-1 win over West Ham that he is "too attached" to Arsenal to think about going anywhere else - but changed that stance when questioned about it on Wednesday.

"Honestly, I don't know what I will do," he said.

"Will I take a little rest? I will continue to work, that's for sure. My pride has always been to give my best to where I'm employed until the last day of my contract. At the moment I'm just focused on that." Wenger questioned whether a "perfect goodbye" exists in football but went on to say he wants to deliver Europa League success more for his players than for his own personal glory.

"At the moment I do not look after myself, I just want to do well," he added. "I just want to do as well as I can because this team has quality, these guys - I've seen them this season be challenged mentally."



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