Monaco loss still ‘hurting’ Wenger

The Gunners were beaten 3-1 at home by the French club in a Champions League last-16 first leg which has left their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals in major doubt.

Former Double winner Bob Wilson gave a public vote of confidence to Wenger in the face of severe condemnation from a variety of sources, both in the media and among the club???s supporters.

Wenger accepts the criticism but says he is hurting more about his team???s performance than what was said afterwards.

“What is hurting is the defeat more than the criticism. I do not say I am immune to it. I love to win and when I don’t win, I am hurt of course,” said Wenger, whose side head into the weekend’s games in third place in the Barclays Premier League.

“We have to live with that (criticism) and I think what is important is to give a strong response.

“We are a big club – that means we are a club who interest many people and that gives us a stronger responsibility.

“Of course when you come out from a disappointing game like Wednesday night, you don’t expect people to applaud. It is absolutely normal that we get criticised.”

Ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Wilson stated fans should support the club “through thick, thin, laughter, smiles and tears”, although there were many who jeered at the final whistle on Wednesday night after watching Arsenal concede a killer third goal deep into stoppage time having just pulled back to 2-1 through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Wenger said: “Of course (the fans must stay behind the team), you are not a fan for one game you are a fan of the club. No matter how good your team is, how big your club is, you play 55 games per year and you have moments where you are disappointed.

“But we are third in the league, we are on a strong run, there is no obvious reason (to be against the team), we don’t play not to go down.

“We want to finish the season in a strong way and keep in this competition as well.

“We are in a strong run in the Premier League and we have to respond to that disappointment in a strong way on Sunday afternoon, that’s all we can do.”