Supporter tensions have affected Wenger - Rice

Pat Rice, Arsene Wenger's long-term assistant, is saddened by the circumstances surrounding the veteran manager's looming exit from Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice at Arsenal training.   -  Getty Images

Arsene Wenger will be "very hurt" by the strained relationship with Arsenal fans that has soured his final years in charge, according to former assistant Pat Rice.

After more than two decades at the helm, Wenger last week by announced he was to step down at the end of the season.

The Frenchman later revealed his irritation over the lack of "unity" projected by the club's supporters, believing they damaged the respected image he had built across the world.

Wenger's position has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years and Rice, his number two between 1996 and 2012, believes the debate has had an effect.

"I think he would feel very hurt about the reaction he was getting but at the end of the day we all know we are in a business where it can happen to anybody," Rice told Sky Sports.

"It is not the first time it has happened to a football manager but when you think what he has done for our great club it is a shame that it had to end this way.

"I'm just hoping that for the last home game of the season [against Burnley] everybody shows their appreciation to a wonderful man and a tremendous manager."

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