Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal need a psychological “reset” after missing a host of chances in their 2-0 defeat against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round.
Arteta’s side should have been in complete control of Sunday’s clash after a dominant first half at the Emirates Stadium.
A combination of poor finishing and good keeping from Alisson Becker frustrated the Gunners, who paid for their profligacy with a late collapse.
Arsenal defender Jakub Kiwior headed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick into his own net after 80 minutes before Luis Diaz sealed Liverpool’s win in stoppage-time.
Arteta’s side have just one win in their last seven matches in all competitions, losing their last three to ruin what had been a promising first half of the season.
The north Londoners are out of the FA Cup and League Cup and sit five points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Asked what was ailing his team, Arteta conceded they risk falling into a mental slump if they don’t refocus quickly.
“Probably it has (become a psychological issue). Especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that. That’s why I think we need to reset,” he said.
Arsenal will have a chance to recharge during a 13-day break before their next match against Crystal Palace.
Arteta believes that time off could be valuable as Arsenal look to get back on track.
“This break is good. It comes in a good time. When things are going well they jump on the train. Now things are difficult, let’s see where they stand,” he said.
- ‘Give them some love’ –
Arteta was convinced the Gunners had done more than enough to beat Liverpool, maintaining a worrying recent trend of controlling games without reaping the rewards.
“We haven’t capitalised. Not just today, but in the last few games as well. That’s why we’re not winning games. Merit-wise there is no question that we deserve to win the games but the results are very different,” he said.
“But when my team plays with that courage and attitude against probably the best team in Europe right now in terms of momentum what can I do but stick by them and support them?
“What we need to do now is stick behind those players, give them some love, train them and make sure they visualise something very different to what is actually happening now.
“We’re not going to reinvent the wheel.”
While Arteta ponders Arsenal’s wobble, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp dismissed suggestions that beating the Gunners would provide his men with a major boost in the Premier League title race.
Liverpool are two points ahead of second placed Aston Villa and also face Fulham in the League Cup semifinal first leg in midweek.