Arsene Wenger has hit back at criticism from shareholder Alisher Usmanov, telling him: we stick together at Arsenal.
The billionaire, who owns more than 30% of the club but is not on the board of directors, gave an interview this week suggesting Wenger has not learned from past mistakes.
Although Usmanov's tone was broadly supportive, he also said Arsenal need new players in every position to compete with the best clubs in England and Europe - claims which struck a chord with some supporters disillusioned after four wins from 12 Premier League games this season.
Wenger was asked for a response ahead of the Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, when a draw or better will guarantee a knockout place for the 15th year running.
He said: "Over the 18 years I've been here I've shown I can take criticism, and everybody has the right to an opinion.
"Having said that, we have values at this club. The first is that when we go through a difficult patch we show solidarity - that's a very important one. The second one is that when we have something to say to each other we say it face to face - we don't need to go to the newspapers.
"Believe me, I don't take it personally at all. It is an opinion that I respect, but when you're from this club you're from this club. You're in or out - you cannot be both."
And the manager came out fighting on Arsenal's prospects for the season, even challenging the press to a wager.
He said: "We know the rules of the game, we know how it works. What is important is how close we are together inside the club and how much we can respond to people who question our quality.
"I personally feel there's a very strong bond inside the team and the club, and I feel this team will have a very strong season. I'm ready to bet with you on that."
Wenger would not elaborate on his definition of a strong season but rubbished suggestions Arsenal - in the midst of their worst start to a league season in 32 years - are in crisis.
He said: "When you're such a long time in football you don't really understand anymore what 'crisis' means. I must get to the dictionary and look at it well again."
Watch Arsenal v Borussia Dortmund live on Sky Sports 1 from 7.30pm on Wednesday.