Arsenal manager Unai Emery has called on his stunned stars to rebuild their shattered confidence as they head to a crucial Premier League game at Leicester City on Sunday.
Emery has seen his team collapse in the past two games with defeats at the hands of Crystal Palace and Wolves, inflicting a massive dent in their hopes of securing a top four spot in the league table and qualification for next season Champions League.
The Gunners lost 3-2 at home to the Eagles and then were beaten 3-1 at Molineux on Wednesday following an excellent week’s work in which they beat Watford 1-0 in the league and then won at Napoli in the quarter-final of the Europa League.
Now Emery wants his side to show character as the curtain starts to fall on the campaign in a season in which the odds for Arsenal claiming silverware have fluctuated constantly. And that change in character will start, he hopes, at the King Power Stadium come noon on Sunday.
He told the club’s official website: “We can think in each moment about our performance and how we can be consistent. It’s really our way in every day and every match. Afterwards, we can think generally about the season. Our target is to be in the possibility to take it. We lost the last match and the match before, but our focus is on the present and on Sunday.
“If we think negatively with the last two matches, we can’t think positively about the games we won against Napoli and Watford. Each match is a new history, a new test and a chance to move up the table or not. We’re being positive, working, recovering the confidence in our players and in our work. We need to be ready and look forward to playing the next match.
“The first target is to recover our confidence. We can build on this confidence each minute, each hour, each day, each week — and above all we’re training and we’re looking for a big performance for the three points. I think it’s very important to be together and to feel a connection with our supporters. We’re doing all we can in training and in each match, we’re playing. Sunday is a big match to show them our good spirit and also our wish to win the three points against Leicester.”
Emery, who joined the Gunners last summer to replace Arsene Wenger, concedes that Leicester have had a jump in confidence themselves since Brendan Rodgers took over from Claude Puel. He added: “They’ve changed the coach. This coach has given them a new energy, a new idea, a new style. He’s not changed the players, but it’s a different system. They’re doing important work from set-pieces that’s different. They feel good now and are in a good moment with confidence. They play with combinations and they have good individuals. It’s going to be difficult for us but we need to test ourselves in the present in the Premier League against them with our best optimistic thinking for playing against them.”