Wenger: I am like a bear - a polar bear
Published 23:00 23/09/11 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger has claimed he is Arsenal's POLAR BEAR and will soak up the bullets to save his young players.
Under-pressure Wenger made the bizarre comparison as he admitted it is difficult for him to look at Arsenal's position in the Premier League table after their worst start for 58 years.
Wenger says he would rather soak up the pressure than see his youngsters suffer because of Arsenal's desperate early-season form - the Gunners will be bottom of the Premier League on Saturday night if they lose at home to Bolton and the West Brom-Fulham game is a draw.
"When you have heavy criticism of a young player I am more worried about it," said Wenger. "I am supposed to take the bullets and absorb them. Like a bear. A polar bear.
"In fairness, it does not hurt too much. You worry more about the young player who gets in the team at the moment and gets slaughtered, it's much more difficult. When I was 19 that was much more difficult to take for me.
"I'm a human being and I prefer it when you say I am not an idiot. But I know that it is an emotional game and I have to deal with that.
"That is why it is important that we do well for the club. That we try to get our fans happy again."
Wenger has included 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his squad to face Bolton on Saturday after his impressive display against Shrewsbury in midweek.
The Arsenal manager has relied heavily on youth so far this season, but former Gunners striker Jeremie Aliadiere claims some of the young players struggle to handle the expectation.
Aliadiere, 28, joined Lorient this summer after claiming his time at Middlesbrough left him bored and close to quitting football.
"Wenger is very generous and like a second father to young players," he said. "But that generates its own pressure on young players, especially when the players are called up to play. I have seen players with fear when they have to play. Wenger has been so successful that people now expect titles every year."
Wenger was adamant that Arsenal will turn their fortunes around using young players if he has to and also without the need for any additions to his coaching staff.
But he admitted that it is very difficult to see his team struggling.
The Arsenal manager has tried making small changes to the pre-match routine, such as meeting up later to go to the hotel the night before home games.
Wenger also said they have worked hard on defending in training this week to improve his back four, after leaking 14 goals in five league games.
"It's very strange believe me," he said Wenger, when asked about looking at the table. "We don't look very comfortable but it's five games played. Just look at Real Madrid [who are seventh in La Liga]. It's difficult for teams everywhere.
"We have done extra work in training. But it's better for me not to talk too much and show that we can deal the problems we have at the back."