05 Mar Laurent Koscielny urges Arsenal to remain united in attempt to regain form
Laurent Koscielny has called for everyone involved at Arsenal to stick together despite admitting a top-four finish would now be “very hard” to achieve following the defeat at Brighton.
The Gunners lost their fourth successive game in all competitions to up the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger and all-but end their forlorn hopes of returning to the Champions League through their Premier League position.
Wenger admitted after back-to-back 3-0 defeats to Manchester City – including the Carabao Cup final – that the confidence of his players was low.
Brighton took advantage of that as Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray capitalised on poor defending to put the hosts two goals ahead, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring a first-half consolation in a 2-1 loss.
The majority of Arsenal’s travelling support were calling for Wenger’s head as they went two goals down but Koscielny wants all parties to be united in an attempt to turn such poor form around.
“We need to stay together, to fight together,” he said.
“It is a big period for us, we know it is difficult but you need to put your head down and work every day.
“We need to win to have more freedom on the pitch and we need to stay together because it is a bad period but all the players, staff and fans need to know that we are all together. It is important
to have everyone behind us.”
The defeat maintains some shocking statistics associated with Arsenal, who have won only three away league games all season and have now lost eight of their last 13 games.
That run has left them 13 points adrift of Tottenham in fourth place and Koscielny conceded it would be difficult to overturn such a deficit.
After the loss at Brighton, Wenger suggested for the first time that winning the Europa League may be the easiest route for Arsenal to secure Champions League football for next season.
Koscielny also believes returning to the top four is now a big ask, adding: “It will be very hard to finish in the top four.
“We have (had) a bad period and did not have the results we wanted. We lost our confidence a little bit and on the pitch we didn’t have the confidence we needed to push ourselves more and to play well with the ball.”
Despite Arsenal’s recent woes, Murray insisted Brighton had to focus on their own game as they beat a top-six side for the first time this season.
“I think we just had to concentrate on ourselves,” he told Press Association Sport.
“We obviously respected Arsenal, they are a very good side and on their day they can beat anyone but we just concentrated on ourselves and the form we are in.
“It is a huge win for us, obviously to beat a so-called ‘top six’ team for the first time this year is massive for us and it is a monkey off our back.”