Arsène Wenger has given a glimpse into his sometimes tortured soul by saying that each defeat he suffers affects him like a bereavement. The Frenchman is preparing for his 18th season in charge at Arsenal – with Sir Alex Ferguson retired, he is the longest-standing manager in the Premier League – and the raw intensity of the job continues to consume him.
"The best moments are every important game you win and the worst moment is every defeat ... basically, because I experience every defeat like a death," Wenger said. "Defeat has to hurt you very much to survive in this job because you learn a lot about yourself. Every defeat is terrible in our job."
Wenger, 63, has no thought as to his retirement age. "I don't know exactly when I will die so it's very difficult to give you that answer," he said, with a smile. He has said that he is "committed to staying" at Arsenal beyond 2014, when his current contract is set to expire and he has opened talks with the club's chief executive Ivan Gazidis over fresh terms. He repeated, though, that his future will be governed by results.
"I will see how it goes in the season," Wenger said. "You want to do well. My heart is with this club because I am there for a long, long time but, as well, I want to do well for the club and that will decide how long I will stay."
Wenger is in Vietnam with his squad, on the second leg of the club's pre-season tour – they face a Vietnam XI on Wednesday – but his focus is on a title challenge. "There is only one title and that is the Premier League ... all the rest is cups," Wenger said, a little dismissively. "We want to fight for the Premier League this year. In England, it's a bit more open. Everybody has a chance. We have finished strong last year and we want to transfer that strength into the start of the season. If we manage to do that, we have a chance.
"Ferguson's retirement has created a void, a huge personality has retired but Manchester United have taken a manager who has experience in the Premier League in David Moyes and he will certainly do a good job. They have kept the team together so that gives them the stability to get through."