Arsene Wenger has vowed to put things right at Arsenal but said any talk over his future was “inconvenient” after the Gunners were humbled at Crystal Palace on Monday night.
With pressure mounting on the Frenchman as he dallies over making an announcement concerning whether he will sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium or leave when his current contracts expires in the summer, a 3-0 defeat in south London was the last thing Wenger needed.
His out of sorts side were put to the sword by a Palace outfit fighting for their lives, with former Tottenham winger Andros Townsend opening the scoring before Yohan Cabaye added the second and Luka Milivojevic wrapped things up from the penalty spot.
Large sections of Arsenal’s support ended the night with a chorus of “Arsene Wenger, we want you to go” and “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” – with protests against the 67-year-old likely to ramp up.
Arsenal’s players then faced a barrage of abuse from their own supporters as they boarded the team bus to depart Selhurst Park, with the likes of Theo Walcott, Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud jeered loudly.
Wenger has already faced pre-match protests from fans who want him to leave the club but speaking after another damaging defeat, Arsenal’s seventh in their last 12 games in all competitions, he would still not be drawn into announcing his intentions.
“I think it would be inconvenient to speak about me tonight, it’s more painful to lose the game like the way we lost this one,” he said.
“I want the fans to support the team. I think they are extremely disappointed and I can understand that because we all are. It is understandable that they are disappointed.”
Arsenal remain sixth in the table but are now closer to Palace in 16th place than they are to Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Wenger remains adamant he wants to address the alarming run in form, with a trip to relegation-threatened Middlesbrough to come next Monday.
“I’m disappointed and determined to put things right,” Wenger said.
“Tonight the worry is not me, it’s the fact that we lost a big game and when you lose a big game it’s a big worry.
“It’s a difficult defeat but on top of that it has consequences on our chances to be in the top four.
“I have managed over a thousand games for Arsenal Football Club and we are not used to that and it’s a big worry. We have to respond very quickly and not accept it.”
For Palace, this was another massive step to retaining their Premier League status and was a fifth victory in six games.
The Eagles won at Chelsea a little over a week ago and manager Sam Allardyce reckons they are now closing in on safety.
“It’s the best week,” said the 62-year-old. “Certainly Chelsea away, a little blip (3-1 defeat) at Southampton, then Arsenal at home. The two victories were such great victories, in such a short space of time, but it was well deserved.
“One or two more results and we should be safe, but it’s a massive night for everybody, and a huge week for us all.”