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I’d prefer to stay at Arsenal, says Wenger

London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has revealed he wants to stay in football management long-term and has indicated for the first time he would like to extend his spell as Arsenal’s manager.

The Frenchman’s future is up in the air, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and events on the pitch exposing him to criticism from supporters.

Wenger said earlier this week he intends to continue working as a manager even if his 21-year reign at the Emirates Stadium comes to an end, but he says his preference would be to remain at Arsenal.

When asked about his future in the game, the 67-year-old told reporters: “If you have a team, maybe you can employ me.

“That’s not a threat. My preference is always to manage Arsenal. I think I have shown that. But I am adult enough to analyse the situation.”

Wenger’s latest low came last Wednesday when Arsenal were crushed 5-1 at Bayern Munich in the Champions League, leaving them on the brink of a seventh successive last-16 exit.

They are also 10 points below leaders Chelsea in the Premier League.

But Wenger believes he still has at least four years left in his managerial career and wants to work for longer than Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson, who was 71 when he retired in 2013.

“Ferguson has some other interests in life,” he said.

“He was older than I am today. He was four years older and retired at 71. I’m 67. Maybe (I’ll manage for) more, or maybe less. I don’t know. Everyone is different.

“I do not want to take anything away from Ferguson. He was an unbelievable manager, but had enough. I’m not at that stage.”

– ‘Blame culture’ –

Wenger also said this week he will make his decision on his future next month or in April, a change from his previous suggestion it would be at the end of the season.

Arsenal visit minnows Sutton United in the FA Cup on Monday and Wenger fears his side’s performance against Bayern was so abject it will take a long time for his squad to recover from it.

“It will never be quick,” he said. “We will keep that with us for our whole lives. But overall I still believe in life if you dwell too much on the past, you forget to prepare the future.

“You have to show that is part of a successful life. You have to deal with disappointments and focus 100 percent on what is in front of you and deal with that.”

Wenger refused to single out playmaker Mesut Ozil for any blame following the loss in his native Germany.

“When you have a heavy defeat like that, it’s difficult to come out on one individual because you look at the way we conceded goals and you can as well criticise some other players,” he said.

“But overall for every single player it is always to try to get up to the next level and he is like everybody else.

“I absolutely accept the situation and analyse it well. No matter how much we cry together, we will not change the result. The only thing we can do is win the next game.

“I would say it is more about character and being united. It is important you do not get in a blame culture and be united to respond well.”

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