Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has no plans to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26 years as Manchester United manager despite being backed in the face of well-publicised protests.
A 1-0 win over Norwich means next Sunday’s clash at Manchester City is crucial in Arsenal’s bid for an 18th successive season in the Champions League.
A small minority of supporters called for change at the Emirates Stadium in the 12th and 78th minute – to signal 12 years since Arsenal’s last Premier League title – and the response was loud, vocal backing for Wenger and the team.
Wenger has one year remaining on his contract this summer and celebrates his 20th anniversary in charge in October.
He said: “I give my best for this club. You don’t spend 19 years at a club – like Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 (years) – without every minute of your time, you give your whole life for that and try to do as well as possible.
“One target is to keep 100 per cent of people happy. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that this season.”
Put to him he could match Ferguson’s longevity, the 66-year-old said: “No, no, never. Don’t worry.”
Wenger accepted the right to protest, but added: “I am not in a democracy”.
He also suggested he thought the dissent would be greater.
“I am a football man. I am not a politician,” he said.
“I am not in a democracy. I am in the next game, perform, try to do as well as you can and accept people’s opinions. That is what it is about.
“From what I was told, I thought the whole stadium would be white (with ‘Time for change’ posters).
“I think I can take that. I am in a public job and I have to live with judgement as long as it is respectful. If it is only opinion, we have all to accept that because we are in a public job.
“We are here to give our best. We have been remarkably consistent at the top.
“There are disappointed people because we didn’t win the league.
“Believe me, we are as well. Like any Arsenal fans, we have to come back and win it and that is all we can do.”
Norwich boss Alex Neil and defender Sebastien Bassong barely noticed the protests.
Neil said: “The majority of the fans outsung the so-called protesters. So for me that showed the backing that Arsene has got.”
Bassong added: “I didn’t even feel it in the stadium.
“For me, they were behind the team. When you’re an Arsenal fan, you expect a lot. I didn’t even know when they were protesting or not.”
Norwich’s failings were familiar – a lack of creation and the missing finish.
The Canaries have three games – against Manchester United, Watford and Everton – to secure their safety.
Bassong added: “At some point, in football and especially when you are fighting against relegation, we need to score.
“We had the chances. We just didn’t put it in. It’s fundamental.”
Neil pointed to the potential match-winners in his squad – Nathan Redmond, Wes Hoolahan, Cameron Jerome and Dieumerci Mbokani among them – and hopes they can prove that status.
The Scot added: “We are hoping one of those guys or someone else – I would take (goalkeeper) John Ruddy to be a scorer – you just want anybody to be the match winner and out the ball into the net and make the difference on the day.”