Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said he was concerned about the thousands of empty seats at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday during the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Watford.
The win came after one of the most difficult spells of Wenger’s time at Arsenal following three successive defeats – the 3-0 losses to Manchester City in the League and Carabao Cup final and a 2-1 reverse at Brighton.
Arsenal recovered some pride with a 2-0 Europa League victory at AC Milan on Thursday, but a huge number of season ticket holders stayed away against the Hornets, causing the under-pressure Frenchman to express his concern.
“Yes of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind the team and to be happy,” Wenger said.
“But after what happened in that week, it’s a bit understandable. We are in a job where we have to get the fans on our side and do absolutely everything to do it, to achieve it. And that’s what we want to do.”
However, Wenger was over the moon with the victory over Watford, which he said he believed would lift the mood.
“Overall it gets us out of that negative spirit that we were in,” he said. “We had a nightmare week.
“We have still some work to do, but we are on a good way.
“There’s a lot of negativity. It’s like rain in England – it’s easy to get. I don’t know how much negativity is out there, I focus on my job.
“I think I’ve shown in 22 years that I can do that, and that I respect everybody’s opinion and I focus on my job with total commitment.”
The win marked several landmarks for Arsenal. It was Wenger’s 700th win in charge of Arsenal while Petr Cech became the first goalkeeper to keep 200 clean sheets in the Premier League.
The veteran keeper also saved his first penalty for the Gunners, blocking Troy Deeney’s second-half spot kick.
A sweet moment for Arsenal after Deeney accused them of lacking “cojones” in their October defeat at Vicarage Road. And one that Wenger had not forgotten.
“It’s quite fortunate that it’s against Deeney,” Wenger said.
“You cannot be a football player without pride, or any sportsman without pride,” he said. “These things always come into it a little bit. How much I don’t know, but it plays a part.”