Sutton United manager Paul Doswell says he has no sympathy for Arsene Wenger as scrutiny on the under-fire Arsenal boss intensifies.
Arsenal were given a 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, with the Gunners suffering a total collapse in the second half at the Allianz Arena after going into the break level.
Frustrated fans have again called on Wenger to walk away from his position when his contract expires at the end of the season, with Arsenal facing another last-16 exit and a battle to stay in the Premier League’s top four.
Wenger’s side take on non-league Sutton in the FA Cup on Monday and, although he acknowledged the brilliance of Bayern in the second half, Doswell stressed that he does not feel sorry for his counterpart.
“Do I feel sympathy for him? No,” he said. “He is well-schooled, and he has been in the job for 20 years.
“Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Wenger… I don’t feel sorry for them at all because they are in the mad world that is football.”
He continued: “I thought for the first 47 minutes they looked like, if not the better team, certainly on a par with Bayern. Then Bayern Munich went into Bayern Munich mode and in fairness I think they would have beaten any Premier League team.
“It is not a disgrace. I know the result is going to sound poor and there is going to be an overreaction but when Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid fancy it, you are in real trouble.
“In sport it is about levels and none of the top six English clubs can get near Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid. That is a fact.”
Doswell, who has taken Sutton to the fifth round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, still believes some of the criticism of Wenger is unjust and pointed to Manchester United’s Europa League commitments as proof that it could be worse for the Gunners.
“Wenger is getting criticised – and I think wrongly – that he doesn’t have enough leaders in the dressing room, but he has still managed to qualify for the Champions League for the last 15 years,” Doswell added.
“I would rather be in Arsenal’s position than Manchester United’s, who are playing in the Europa League.
“It is an open forum to criticise Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, but from our perspective we are just over the moon that they are coming here.”
As humiliating as Arsenal’s defeat to Bayern was, it would be nothing compared to if they were knocked out by Sutton in the FA Cup.
And Doswell says if his side avoid defeat it will be among the greatest in the competition’s famed history.
“If we were to get any result against Arsenal, either a draw or win, it would be one of the greatest results in the history of the FA Cup. We have got to be realistic,” he said.
“If we did do it, it would be a Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson moment, a Luxembourg beating England almost.”
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