Arsene Wenger says that the idea of calling time on his managerial career and retiring from football makes him “panic”.
Following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, the Arsenal manager become the longest-serving active manager in the Premier League, having been appointed by the Gunners in 1996.
Wenger has had his ability to lead Arsenal questioned many times over the years, with his first nine years in charge bringing seven major trophies but the following 10 bringing just two – but he is as hungry as ever.
“Retirement? Yes, it crosses my mind sometimes but for no longer than five seconds because I panic a little bit,” he told reporters.
“When we played at Man United, [Ferguson] came to meet me after the game. I said: ‘Come on, you don’t miss it?’ He says: ‘No.’ He had enough. He goes to every game but he has horses. I have no horses.
“Enthusiasm is not a problem, honestly. I am more committed than ever for that. I just think the number of times you have done it doesn’t count. It is how much you love what you do that counts.
“And the love of what you do is not necessarily diminished by the number of times you’ve done it. Football is new every day. That’s a big quality. It makes you question.
“With every defeat people say: ‘What is this guy doing?’ Every three days you are questioned. You have an exam every three days. You have no way to look back. You have to prepare the next exam and come out of it with success. So it always demands 100 per cent commitment.
“I want to do well for the club and, as well, when I leave one day, leave the club in a position where the club can go on and on.”
Arsenal suffered their worst ever start to a season under Wenger during 2014-15, with the manager confronted by fans in November following a loss to Stoke City which left the Gunners sixth in the table.
“You would not necessarily expect people to insult you on the way to the train,” he said. “It’s the way society has gone and you have to go with it. You can take it or not.
“I know the same people can be excessive on one side and the other side. That’s where experience helps. You have a good assessment of who you are and you’re not influenced by what people say.”