Arsene Wenger has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson offered him words of support during Arsenal’s latest crisis.
The Gunners stopped a run of four straight defeats on Thursday with a morale-boosting 2-0 win at AC Milan in the Europa League.
But questions over Wenger’s future remain, with the club set to review his position at the end of the season after another poor domestic season.
Wenger has confessed that the last few weeks have caused him sleepless nights — but revealed that former Manchester United manager Ferguson has been in touch.
Despite developing one of the biggest feuds in Premier League history in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Wenger and Ferguson have formed a close bond in recent years. Wenger said: ‘I have a good relationship with Ferguson and sometimes he sends me a message when things don’t go well.
‘Every manager will tell you when you don’t get results the first thing affected is the mood, the lack of sleep and the desire to find solutions.
‘But it’s part of the job. When you’re a young manager you dream that you want to take a job and win every game but it’s not that. It’s about surviving through disappointments and finding solutions. It can make you a better manager to face a crisis.’
When asked about the growing discontent among fans, Wenger said: ‘It’s not the person they hate, they hate the manager who doesn’t deliver the performance.
‘But I’m just as unhappy that we lose the games. I’m suffering like everybody else.’
Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has cast fresh doubt on his Arsenal future by insisting he is no closer to signing a new deal. The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season, and the 26-year-old midfielder can leave for nothing in the summer.
The Gunners have offered Wilshere an extension, but it includes a significant pay cut from his current deal. Including bonuses, Wilshere earns in excess of £125,000 per week. His basic wage is close to £100,000 per week but the club want him to take a drop to £80,000 per week and top it up with a lucrative bonus structure.
Arsenal are still confident he will sign a new contract while Wilshere’s overwhelming preference is to stay at the Emirates. Yet there remains doubt over the England midfielder’s future, particularly as he confessed talks are at a standstill. When asked whether there was an update on a new contract, Wilshere replied: ‘Not really, no.’
When asked about Wenger’s comments claiming the ball is in his court, Wilshere added: ‘Things have changed since then. We’re no closer to sorting anything out.’