Wenger never considered snubbing United

26 April 2013 07:47

Arsene Wenger insists he never considered telling his Arsenal players not to hold a guard of honour for new Premier League champions Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Some Arsenal fans and players are reportedly unhappy that the Gunners are willing to mark United's 20th title by forming the guard on honour for Alex Ferguson's players prior to kick-off.

The presence of former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie in the United line-up will further inflame the situation as the Dutch forward's move to Old Trafford last year remains a sore point with Gunners fans.

There have been suggestions those disgruntled fans will turn their backs in protest when the teams come out from the tunnel.

Arsenal manager Wenger is adamant the club were right to follow tradition as United performed a guard of honour in 2005 for Chelsea, who then returned the gesture two years later.

United also gave Arsenal a guard of honour when they visited Highbury soon after the north Londoners were crowned champions in 1991.

"When you work somewhere abroad, you have to respect the culture of the country," Wenger said.

"That is part of the tradition of English football and I want that to be respected."

Wenger also hopes Van Persie's return will not distract his club as they look to close in on the top-four finish which would secure Champions League qualification.

"I am looking forward to our performance on Sunday more than anything else," he said.

"You focus on your own team and it's an interesting opportunity for us to achieve something special on Sunday. We want to take this opportunity.

"We respect Robin van Persie like every other player who has left us and came back to the Emirates.

"I want the player to be respected like everybody else. I always said that for every single player who left, even some of them in much more controversy than Robin van Persie."

Source: AFP