Arsène Wenger says public criticism can just heap stress on players

• ‘You can do that in extreme situations but it has to be handled carefully’
• Arsenal manager says: ‘Of course sometimes I have to bite my lip’

Arsène Wenger believes managers publicly criticising players – a tactic frequently used this season by José Mourinho – can be damaging to team unity and dangerous for footballers’ mental health.

Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and, most frequently, Luke Shaw have been singled out for criticism by the Manchester United manager this season. Wenger, meanwhile, has not only refused to give in to the temptation to publicly castigate his charges but has passionately defended them at their moments of greatest crisis, saying after the 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich that his players had been “unjustifiably criticised”.

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