London: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger pointed out that his team is using the criticism they have received recently as motivation to fuel their English Premier League (EPL) title challenge.
Several experts have questioned Arsenal’s credentials after the Gunners lost 0-2 to Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie, before their EPL title challenge was dented by a 3-2 defeat at Manchester United five days later.
“I’m never surprised by the criticism that comes — that’s part of the media today. Part of the opinion is always a bit excessive and emotional, but we have to deal with that and I don’t complain about it. Yes, that’s what we want to do and use criticism as motivation. We want to transform the negatives into positives around us and create even more solidarity,” Wenger was quoted as saying by the club’s official website on Tuesday.
“Let’s not go overboard, we do not play to be relegated. We are playing to fight for the title. That’s why we have to put criticism in the right place. After 20 years I’m used to it. We have built this club, and it has been built before me, with values. What we try to do is respect these values and when we are disappointed we need to show these values and clarity to fight together,” Wenger said.
Arsenal are at the third spot in the EPL table with 51 points from 27 matches, five points adrift of league leaders Leicester City. But, with games against Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur coming up this week, the Frenchman believes it is the perfect opportunity for his side to get back on track.
“We are professional and we want to focus on how we respond to the defeat. It can happen. We lost 3-2 at Manchester United, we are not happy with the result but if you analyse the game we had two lapses of focus that we paid for. That made the game difficult for us after,” 66-year-old said.
“We gave a lot against Barcelona and the disappointing outcome certainly had an impact on our belief against Manchester United, but we want to focus on the positives and recover from it. We want to give our best from now until the end of the season,” Wenger concluded.