London: Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal's medical staff don't deserve to be criticised for Jack Wilshere's long injury lay-off.
Wilshere will be out of action for up to five months after undergoing surgery on a stress fracture in his right ankle on Monday.
The England midfielder has been sidelined with the problem since pre-season and, although he initially hoped to be back within a few weeks, he was forced to go in for the operation after it became clear that rest wasn't helping to heal the ankle.
Wilshere had suffered the injury during a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June and England coach Fabio Capello has angered Arsenal by claiming the club's doctors allowed the teenager to go on holiday rather than treat him straight away.
Capello isn't alone in his questioning of Arsenal's medics but Wenger is adamant there was nothing wrong with the way Wilshere's injury was managed and insists the criticism has been provoked by his side's slow start to the season.
"It is unfair because the club's medical staff hasn't made any mistakes on that front," Wenger said on Tuesday.
"The red colour (of Arsenal's shirts) seems to attract a lot of criticism."
"When we don't do as well as expected we get criticised. It shows we are a very popular club. We have to accept it."
Although Wilshere's rehabilitation is set to keep him sidelined until well into the second half of the season, Wenger was relieved the midfielder will be back this term because he feared an even longer absence.
Wenger spent the final few weeks of last season insisting that Wilshere should be rested in the summer, rather than playing for England Under-21s at the European Championships, to avoid the 19-year-old suffering from burn-out.
He got his wish but Wilshere's body has still been unable to cope with the strain.
"It was a big relief that the operation went well," Wenger said. "The news we have is very positive but the time he will be out is quite long."
"It changed because the fracture didn't heal. What I've been told is we had to go in quite quickly to repair it."
"He had an early fracture at the age of 16. That healed but around that area it created another opening."
"Was it down to a kick or playing too much? I don't know. I'm not a specialist. He told me he felt it the first time against Switzerland."
With Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri having left before the transfer window, Wilshere's injury has robbed Wenger of another key midfield playmaker, yet the Frenchman refuses to use that as an excuse for his side's poor form.
"It makes us a bit shorter in midfield and it puts more pressure on our midfielders to perform week in week out because there is less room for rotation," he said.
"But every club can be tested on that front so it shouldn't be any excuse at all. He can come back strongly and help us finish the season well."