Per Mertesacker: Criticism makes me stronger

Ross Houston
May 30, 2017

Delivering the FA Cup three times in four seasons has papered over some of the cracks as Arsenal has repeatedly come up short in the Premier League and Europe. "Let's enjoy the win tonight and not worry about the future".

"This doesn't influence anything", record seven-times FA Cup victor Wenger told reporters. It is a freakish rule but nevertheless, forget the offside, for me I thought it was very lucky to not be given as a handball.

I try to serve this club with the same commitment and quality.

He believes that planes carrying anti-Wenger slogans, boycotts of home games, and signs and banners being displayed inside stadiums cost them dear.

"I know I am in a public job". It's the board who has to decide who will lead the club in the future.

The Wenger debate has divided the club's supporters this season, creating what Wenger describes as a "hostile" environment which has effected his players.

He added: "Look, this season, I think usually we have no sagas".

"Outside of the game I never had any word with any journalist in 20 years when they criticised my decisions and it is the same with the fans". I accept to be criticised and I accept people don't agree with me.

Chelsea pushed forward in search of the equaliser in the second-half, but the Gunners held firm, with captain Per Mertesacker, who was making his first start of the season, putting in a game-winning shift in the heart of the defence. You can not be in this job [if not].

Antonio Conte fell short in his bid to emulate Italian countryman Carlo Ancelotti by leading Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup Double in his first season as manager.

It was expected the 32-year-old would endure a hard afternoon against the likes of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard, but instead Mertesacker was at the top of the game, leading Wenger to single him out for individual praise.

A controversial Alexis Sanchez goal opened proceedings, with referee Anthony Taylor over-ruling an offside decision having missed a handball from the Chilean in the build-up.

The 67-year-old also became the FA Cup's most successful manager as he claimed a seventh winners' medal.

"This is a very nice competition, we won it last season and I hope that, in one year, we can have the chance to fight for it until the last game".

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