(Reuters) - Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has repeated his intention to stay in management next season, saying retirement would be like dying.
Calls for Wenger to end his 20-year reign at Arsenal have grown louder after the club were knocked out of the Champions League in the last-16 for a seventh successive season and lost four of their last five Premier League matches to slide down to sixth in the table.
”I will not retire,“ Wenger, who has yet to extend his contract which runs out at the end of the season, told reporters. ”Retiring is for young people. For old people retirement is dying.
“Of course I‘m as hungry as I was when I arrived. I carry a bit more pressure on my shoulders than 20 years ago but the hunger is exactly the same.”
With the club’s supporters divided over Wenger’s future, Arsenal face the daunting task of hosting fourth-placed Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Wenger, however, was in a defiant mood.
“Fear? No. My next game is about hope and desire. I hate defeat,” the Frenchman added.
”In your mind you can never afford to lose, you’re always very focussed on winning the next game. I can understand the fans that are unhappy with every defeat.
“But the only way to have victory is to stick together with the fans and give absolutely everything until the end of the season. That’s all we can do.”
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Lovell