Arsene Wenger has passionately defended his position as Arsenal boss and insists he has become bored of people questioning whether he has what it takes to continue in the job.
The 66-year-old has been accustomed in recent years to supporters and pundits alike calling for him to end his long reign with the Gunners, and in recent weeks he has faced a fresh wave of criticism after the team’s title hopes were derailed by some poor results.
Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness called Arsenal “weak and insipid” and claimed they “bordered on a joke” during their defeat to Manchester United last month, while ex-players Paul Merson and Thierry Henry have also had their say on Wenger and the club.
Wenger, who is now the longest-serving manager in Europe as he approaches 20 years at the helm at Arsenal, has seen his side win just three of their last 12 matches in all competitions, leaving them on the brink of Champions League elimination and eight points adrift of domestic league leaders Leicester with nine games remaining.
They face Hull in an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Tuesday night as they look to win the competition for a third straight season, having beaten the Tigers in the 2014 final and defended the trophy against Aston Villa at Wembley last May.
The 2014 success ended a decade-long run without silverware for the Gunners and relieved tensions between disillusioned fans and their manager – but things could once again to come a head if they end the current campaign empty-handed.
But Wenger came out fighting when asked if the way fans react over the remainder of the season would affect his thoughts over signing a new contract at Arsenal, with his current deal expiring next summer.
“Look, I have worked here for 19, 20 years and I’m always sitting here having to justify that I’m good enough to do the job,” he said at his press conference previewing the trip to the KC Stadium.
“I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end. I always have to convince you that I am good enough. I worked for 35 years at the top level.
“What I find just boring is always sitting here after 19 years to face, ‘Do you think you are good enough?’ If I am not, somebody will tell me.”
Wenger’s counterpart on Tuesday night at Hull will be Steve Bruce, who labelled criticism of the Frenchman as “appalling” and said the only thing he would be giving the Arsenal boss is respect.
A fighting 2-2 draw at Tottenham on Saturday showed Wenger’s side does have heart and the hunger to fight for silverware after a poor run of results.
Henry said he had never seen the fans as angry as they were when Arsenal lost at home to Swansea last Wednesday but Wenger insists he will go about his job of delivering those trophies rather than focusing on what he cannot control.
He said: “I cannot influence the behaviour of the fans. How can I do that?
“I am humble enough every day to question myself, to accept my mistakes, and believe me I do that. After that as well there is no coincidence that the people who own the club tell me to be here for 19 years. Do you think they are more stupid than you or me?
“I am not on Twitter. I don’t invite anybody to go out to dinner and be nice with them. I work and work and work and work. If it’s not good enough someone will tell me one day.
“That’s all I can do. I do not worry what you say about me or what fans say about me. I try to do my job in a proper way and with full commitment. After that everybody has the right to have an opinion.”