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Wenger hits out at new contract reports
Arsene Wenger maintains he has no problem with criticism, but the Arsenal manager will not stand for what he claims are unsubstantiated "lies" aimed at unsettling his team.
The Gunners host Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday after crashing out of the FA Cup at home to npower Championship side Blackburn. Reports suggested that despite Arsenal facing up to what could be an eighth season without a trophy, negotiations had already started with Wenger over a new deal, with his current one set to expire next summer.
However, Wenger, 63, went on the offensive at his pre-match press conference, looking to set the record straight in what at times were heated exchanges with journalists. The Arsenal manager told reporters in an off-camera briefing: "I have been here for 16 years, I deserve at least that you check information with me before you write it."
He added: "Why does it (contract story) just come out when we lose a big game? You think I am so naive that I don't see what is behind that? You think I am a complete idiot? The lie is targeted to hurt.
"It is easy to say people are not happy and on top of that say 'he is extending the contract', that is what I mean. It is the intention behind the lie."
Wenger, however, insists he does not feel there is a growing agenda against him.
"I don't take it personally. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am 30 years in this job and if I was paranoid, you would know it already," he added. "I just think that when I worked for 16 years in the country I expect a certain respect.
"You can criticise me and say I am doing a bad job, but manipulative things, when they are wrong, I don't accept."
Wenger had wasted little time in knocking down questions about the decline of his team when addressing Monday afternoon's official UEFA media conference at the training ground - at one point singling out a reporter and directly asking if he had "given this information out".
When pressed on the Champions League now being Arsenal's only hope of ending their long trophy drought, he sarcastically replied: "No, no. I want to lose it, to lose the game tomorrow so you can all be happy."