Arsene Wenger fanned the flames of supporter unrest at Arsenal by claiming the toxic atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium has damaged their title bid.
A number of fans groups will use Saturday’s home clash against Norwich to protest against the running of the club and the team’s failure to keep pace with surprise Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City.
But Wenger feels the negativity in the stands has impacted on their performances. ‘We lost the championship at home against the lower teams, but we played at home in a very difficult climate,’ Wenger said.
‘We have to realise that, away from home, we are championship winners. At home, against the smaller teams, we lost the league.’
Arsenal, who are fourth in the table actually have the third best away record this season behind Leicester and Tottenham.
‘This club does have special values, though, and one I’ve experienced over the years is to stick together and support the team,’ continued Wenger. ‘There’s no success without that.
‘They look for their own agenda, to get people on Twitter and social networks, and it becomes a way to behave.’
The Arsenal boss risked further condemnation from his own supporters, by praising Liverpool fans for the way they have got behind their team in recent weeks.
Likewise, a further assertion that Arsenal may not spend heavily in the transfer market is also likely to upset supporters, particularly after they were the only club in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player last summer.
Wenger said: ‘Liverpool are a good example to follow. They’re a big club. We are a very big club.
‘Look, I can understand the frustration of our fans. But, despite that, they want to support our team.