Bacary Sagna has launched a passionate defence of Arsène Wenger and claimed the Arsenal manager is “an institution”.
Sagna, the Manchester City defender, says his former manager does not deserve to be criticised by supporters as the crisis deepens after a dreadful run of results which is threatening Arsenal chances of finishing in the top four.
Wenger is facing arguably the biggest test of his 21-year reign at the Emirates but Sagna, who played under the Frenchman for four years, insists there should be no debate over his future.
“At the moment I am quite sad for the manager because he doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him. He’s a great man and an institution for Arsenal. It’s not fair,” he said.
“For life I will be thankful to him because he brought me to England – and I will be thankful because even when I had tough moments he always showed trust in me.“I would like him to stay. I associate Arsenal with his name. Sometimes you can have difficult moments but he’s always been there for the team.
“That’s why it’s quite difficult for me to see him in this position but to me he is the man for this situation at Arsenal.”
City will face Arsenal in a potentially pivotal double-header next month, with the two heavyweights playing each other in the league before an FA Cup semi-final.
Sagna said: “Of course the supporters are disappointed because of the results. Anyone would be with what’s happened on the pitch. But they have quality players, players who can react, players who are part of the Champions League every season.And with Wenger seemingly determined to extend his stay by signing a new contract, the atmosphere is threatening to become even more toxic at the Emirates on April 2.
“They can beat anyone. They remain good players. Maybe commitment wise they were not that confident and without that confidence it’s difficult to play. They remain a good team and dangerous to play against.”
City are seven points above Arsenal and could land another significant blow to Wenger’s hopes of another Champions League campaign next season with a victory.
Sagna, 34, believes the two games are defining moments in City’s season as they strive to finish their first season under Pep Guardiola with a flourish.
“It’s going to be even more vital to come back after the international break even stronger,” he said. “We need to go to Arsenal and win the game because we want to be part of the Champions League again next season.
“It’s going to be difficult to catch Chelsea – it’s maybe too far now – but we want to be qualifying for the Champions League. We have to go and give a good performance, stick together and keep working hard.”