Arsene Wenger suffers in silence after a big defeat

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Wenger on the pain of a setback
Wenger on the pain of a setback

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given a revealing interview into the emotions he goes through after his side suffer a big defeat.

Wenger admits he endures days of torment after a setback like their Champions League exit against Monaco last week, with his comments in the Arsenal magazine making for fascinating reading.

“Maybe people don’t realise how much it hurts, but I think it hurts the fans as well. If it doesn’t hurt you will never survive in this game," said Wenger as he summed up what he felt after a defeat.

“If we have not got a game for a while and we have lost the last one there are times when I have not gone out at all for days.

“In the evening, I sometimes watch [BBC’s] Match of the Day to see what happened here and there and to see how we have been perceived. Sometimes I think it would be better to watch it with the sound turned down!

“It depends on my mental state. Sometimes I like to hear what they have got to say. The only thing that upsets me is if the intention behind [criticism] is wrong. I accept criticism when the intention is just a fair assessment. But when the intention is just to hurt, of course it is very upsetting.

Wenger's agonies are also in evidence before a match, as he admits the experience is draining. “I never tend to sleep well on the night of a game. If we win I sleep a little bit better, but still very short,” he continued.

“I only sleep for two or three hours after a game. I go to bed late and get up at 6am.

“A matchday is very draining. It always hits me the next day at 4pm. The next afternoon you decompress a little bit and then you start to feel the fatigue.”

Wenger also suggested he does not like to shout at his players straight after a game if they have under-performed, as he prefers to let his emotions subside.

“I don’t like to shout at players after a game because you can do too much damage after the match,” added Wenger. “It is true that sometimes it is very tempting, though, and sometimes I’ve gone overboard after games.

“So most of the time I really try to control myself because I go red in the face and think to myself: ‘The damage is big, don’t do more.’

“Sometimes you can say to an individual player: ‘It’s your fault that we conceded a goal on a cross.’ But then later you look at the time and it turns out it was not his fault at all.

“Then as a manager after that you have to say to the player: ‘Sorry I was wrong’. It’s better when you say something that you are sure about it.”