Arsene Wenger believes his Arsenal players need to learn to handle the pressure of playing for the club, crediting a failure to do so as the reason why the Gunners’ Premier League form has stuttered this season, according to the
Arsenal are currently sixth in the table, six points behind local rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs hold fourth, the final qualification place for next season’s Champions League, a competition Arsenal have never failed to qualify for under Wenger. The club are also 21 points adrift of table-topping Manchester United.
Wenger feels that the pressure from supporters to succeed is having a negative impact on the players, but rather than ask the supporters to lower their expectations, the 63-year-old has said the players need to rise to the challenge and deliver for the fans.
“I’ve said so many times that I want the fans to be rewarded,” Wenger said. “We have to deal with pressure a little better and not transform that desire into tension. I felt that’s what happened against Manchester City.
“This team wants to do so much that we start nervous. I’ve always been 100 per cent appreciative of the attitude of the players. Their qualities are absolutely outstanding,” Wenger added.
Against City, Arsenal saw Laurent Koscielny sent off within 10 minutes of the match getting underway, with the champions scoring twice before half-time and eventually running out winners by the same scoreline.
Arsenal face Swansea City in an FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday evening, held at the Emirates Stadium, with a cross-London visit to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to come in the league at the weekend.
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