Arsene Wenger: Fan protests a factor in Arsenal future decision

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger says the growing fan unrest will influence his decision on whether to stay on as Arsenal manager but that it's "not the most important factor."

Wenger is under increasing pressure after Arsenal's 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, with a growing section of the fan base calling for him to step down when his contract expires this summer.

About 200 fans even staged a march outside the Emirates before Tuesday's match demanding that the club makes a change.

Asked as his news conference on Thursday whether the fans' opinion will impact his decision, Wenger said: "Yes.

"Of course, you consider everything. It will not be the most important factor but of course, you consider it."

Wenger has repeatedly said the main factor will be the team's results this season, and the string of recent setbacks has increased the speculation that he will step down.

Arsenal were knocked out 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern and are already out of the Premier League title race and fighting for a top-four spot. They lost 3-1 at both Chelsea and Liverpool in recent games, which sparked Tuesday's fan protest.

But while the march did not draw a massive turnout, Wenger did not want to speculate on how widespread the discontent is among the supporter base.

"I don't know, it is difficult for me to judge. I have worked very hard for 20 years to make our fans happy and when you lose the games, I understand they are not happy," he said.

"I do not want to judge that, I am not able to. I live in my daily work with my complete commitment. After that, I have said many times that you have to accept different opinions."

Arsenal play non-league club Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday, a competition that now represents Wenger's only real hope of salvation, but he insisted that the dismal results against Bayern "will not be a decider" when he makes up his mind on his future. It was the seventh straight season that Arsenal exited the Champions League in the round of 16.

"I looked a little bit at the Champions League history. I think in the last seven years we've played six times against Barcelona or Bayern Munich, who are the two best teams in Europe," he said.

"You have to take that into consideration as well. In the last nine years, we were only one time the worst performing team in the Champions League from England. When you're present at that level, you can be punished as well. Basically there are many teams who are not there -- they cannot be punished."

Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick has issued an official statement saying a decision on Wenger's future "will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way."