'Top-class managers never die' - Petit has faith in Arsenal boss Wenger

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Many fans were not happy at the decision to hand the Frenchman a new contract, but his former player is backing his old boss to silence his critics

Emmanuel Petit is backing Arsene Wenger to prove his critics wrong next season after choosing to remain in charge at Arsenal.

Disgruntled supporters and many observers had called for the veteran manager to end his long tenure, the Gunners having failed to qualify for the 2017-18 Champions League for the first time under Wenger.

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Instead, the 67-year-old Frenchman committed to a new two-year deal at Emirates Stadium, a bold move endorsed by his countryman.

"I'm happy, I'm a big fan of Arsene," former Arsenal star Petit told reporters at a France Legends v Italy Legends exhibition match.

Emmanuel Petit Arsene Wenger Arsenal

"I know what he's done for me when I went out from Monaco's academy. I know what he's done for me in England as well. I know he has been very [heavily] criticised these past two years, even more this year but I know what he's achieved, what he's achieved for English football.

"I can understand the fans' frustration, I can understand some players' frustration too, but I think Arsene will be back very strong next year.

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"I trust Arsene, sincerely, as top-class players, as big clubs, this kind of bad period can happen but top-class players or top-class managers never die, they always come back."

Arsenal, who won the FA Cup and finished fifth in the Premier League table last term, will compete in the Europa League next season.

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