Arsenal news: Per Mertesacker reveals how Arsene Wenger was failed by the players in 2018 | Football | Sport
Per Mertesacker revealed Arsene Wenger put too much trust in his players and was never fully repaid during his last season at Arsenal.
Wenger left the Gunners after the 2017/18 season amid growing pressure from a large section of the fans that demanded ‘Wenger Out’ after 12 years at the helm.
The Frenchman’s last few seasons at the club had been turbulent with plenty of frustration growing at the stands due to a lack of a league title since 2004 and his last campaign saw the team finishing sixth in the table.
Mertesacker pointed the blame at the north London side’s lack of consistency and the fact that the players never fought for the three-time Premier League winner the same way he did for them.
The former Arsenal centre-back suggested that the legendary boss had too much confidence in the players and that is why he wouldn’t make many signings.
The fans, though, demanded new quality transfers and the roster failed to prove him right as they didn’t follow his instructions properly and couldn’t learn from their mistakes.
Mertesacker wrote in his autobiography, ‘Per Mertesacker: Big Friendly German’: “When we lost one game, we often lost a few in a row.
“We could show off our class across six FA Cup games, but 38 League matches in 10 months were a different matter.
“We simply lacked the consistency all top teams need. You couldn’t win the League on eight defeats a year.
“Arsene Wenger was always the kind of manager whose belief in his team’s qualities was steady as a rock and who approached matters with never-ending patience.
“He didn’t lose his nerve during losing streaks, either. He stuck with his convictions and his players, no matter how strong the wind was blowing. It was his greatest strength.
“Wondering whether it was also his greatest weakness and whether he was he too lenient with us is, in my opinion, a little too simplistic.
“If the fans had got their way, there would have been five new top signings every year. ‘Spend some f***ing money!’ they would chorus from the stands after defeats.
“But Wenger trusted the players he had. I never met another manager who believed more strongly in his squad’s ability.
“First and foremost, Wenger saw us as human beings and he had a lot of faith in us, which is why he stood by us.
“Ultimately, we as players need to ask ourselves whether we did everything possible to justify his trust.
“Did we implement his instructions perfectly? Were we pulling together? Did we learn from our mistakes? No.
“Wenger has won three Premier League titles, which is proof enough of his standing as a manager. The team, on the other hand, had fallen short since 2004.”