Arsene Wenger says Arsenal’s players cannot choose the manager and will not be the ones deciding his future.
The Arsenal manager called on his squad to perform and restore pride after the club lost four of their last six matches.
Wenger wants to use Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Bayern Munich – a tie they trail 5-1 – as an opportunity to win over the supporters again.
And, after denying he had been involved in a training ground bust-up with star player Alexis Sanchez, under-pressure Wenger was clear the players had to focus on their jobs.
“It is not down to the players to choose the manager,” said Wenger, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
“The players have to perform and the board chooses the manager.
“I think we are in the best football club in the world and we have to show pride and commitment to defend the pride of this club.
“It is not about the politics, we are not in a political club here, we are judged on performance. I have to perform and the players have to perform.
“The players are ready to fight. We live in a world of small margins and if you drop off a little, it looks like you don’t want to fight.
“It is really down to us now to make the first step to make our fans proud of ourselves again. That is really something that we need the emphasis on.”
Addressing a reporter, Wenger added: “If I ask you, ‘Is everybody in your company behind you?’ I promise you I would find someone who is not happy that you sit here and would like to be in your position.
“It is your bosses that choose if you are here or not and that is why I can understand that when the results are not there that I am criticised. But it is not down to the players to choose the manager.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 6, 2017
Wenger is not rushing to decide on whether to sign a two-year contract extension or depart when his present deal expires at the end of the season.
“I have not come to a decision yet,” he said. “I will wait a bit and see how the season finishes here.
“I have been here or 20 years and think I have built the club up. It is important for me that we are always successful and that is why I have given myself a bit of time.”
Per Mertesacker, who attended the media conference with Wenger, added: “We have showed many times we can turn it round and we are happy to play for him, yes.”