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Arsene Wenger defends record at end of Arsenal spell

Arsene Wenger defends record at end of Arsenal spell
© Reuters
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger defends his record from his final years in charge of the club, where he won three FA Cups in five years before stepping down.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit back at "harsh" criticism of his troubled final years in North London.

The Frenchman oversaw Premier League title wins in 1998, 2002 and 2004 before ending his tenure in 2018, by which point some of the Emirates fanbase had begun to turn on the Gunners boss.

Wenger did deliver three FA Cup triumphs in his final five seasons in charge, though, and the 71-year-old has defended his record during his ill-fated last couple of seasons.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Wenger said: "I think people are quite harsh about the last years. In 2016 we finished second in the league. Leicester won but other teams were behind Leicester as well, and Leicester only lost three games. In 2017 we did not qualify for the top four for the first time in 20 years but we got 75 points.

"People don't realise. We won the [FA] Cup against Chelsea who had just won the championship and had the chance of winning the double. And after, in 2018, we lost the League Cup final against (Manchester) City, we lost in the semi-final of the Europa League against Atletico Madrid but by just one goal.

"But look, I gave the best years of my career to develop what I think is important - the stadium and pay it back and put the club in a position where it was capable of facing the future and had the potential to do well.

"At the end of the day, above all, we won and what I am most proud about is putting the club in that position."

Wenger claimed 707 wins from his 1223 games in charge of Arsenal over a 22-year spell, but his side could only muster fifth and sixth-place finishes in the Premier League during his final two seasons in control of the reins.

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Arsene Wenger pictured in February 2019
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