Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted the quest for a Champions League place hung in the balance this season but believes the side have to overcome recent mental barriers to finish in a top-four spot in the Premier League table. He feels the Gunners have been under pressure and restricted in their place recently and wants the confidence and creative freedom to return.
“It’s not been very enjoyable as you certainly know, but bad moments are part of our job as well. You focus to prepare and make sure you respond in a strong way. To play with restriction and a little bit of a handbrake on doesn’t help the performance. We are under pressure to deliver and the best way to do it is to play with freedom and accept the risk,” he said.
Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League table with 54 points from 30 games this season, coming off the back of one win from their last five. The Gunners have lost their last four away games in the division ahead of Monday’s trip to face Middlesbrough, and being seven points adrift of the top-four means they have a big task to topple Manchester City.
“(The challenge is) massive. We might get there, we might not get there, but the only thing to get there is to believe we can do it and that’s what we have to focus on. It’s not the fear to fail, it’s the desire to make it and that’s the only chance we have to make it,” Wenger added. Arsenal are 4/7 to win against Middlesbrough on Monday, which could see them finish the day four points behind if results go their way. But can Arsenal deliver?