Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepts Arsenal fans have every right to vent their frustrations after his team's final home game of the season ended with boos ringing out around Emirates Stadium following a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa.
The Gunners are now in real danger of seeing FA Cup winners Manchester City, who are two points behind with a match in hand, overtake them in the race for automatic Champions League qualification after a third defeat in four games at the end of a campaign which promised so much but again failed to deliver.
"It was our job to thank the fans and you never have to be embarrassed when you do your job," said Wenger after thousands of Arsenal fans had already headed for the exit doors ahead of the squad's lap of appreciation to mark the final home game of the season.
"It was not a tour of glory, of course, but I think, no matter what happens, you have to respect your fans for turning up for the whole season. You have to accept that [some left] and you have to thank those who are still in the stand.
"What is important is that this club has values and respects those values. We are in a job where you have to please people and if they are not happy, we have to accept that."
"The fans will not check how much money we spend, they want to win football games. When we don't, they are not happy and that is completely normal. We will try to strengthen our team, of course, but the best way to keep our fans happy is to win the games."
The game was effectively decided when Darren Bent struck twice inside the opening 15 minutes following more poor defending.
While the Gunners boss will no doubt point to key decisions from referee Michael Oliver to turn down a first-half penalty shout and the rule out a close-range header from substitute Marouane Chamakh before Robin van Persie bundled home a late consolation, the jeers which rang out around the ground at the final whistle sent a clear message.
Villa were in need of at least a point to mathematically secure their top-flight status and produced a display worthy of their vocal travelling support.
"You have to be happy with everything," said assistant manager Gary McAllister. "It has been a good day, with a great performance and result. There has not been a great deal to shout about, but the journey home will be sweet and we appreciate the support because it is not been a great year but they stuck by us."
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