EFL Cup final loss damaging for Arsenal confidence, accepts Wenger
Arsene Wenger accepts his Arsenal side suffered a damaging blow to their confidence after losing the EFL Cup final to Manchester City.
A flat Arsenal were demolished again by City on Thursday, the Gunners conceding three goals in the first half of a home game in the Premier League for the first time.
A second 3-0 loss to City in five days means Wenger's men have been beaten in three of their last four games across all competitions, leaving the Frenchman under increasing pressure.
With Arsenal 10 points outside the Champions League qualification places, progressing in the Europa League is the sole remaining goal for Wenger's men, who have lost seven games in all competitions already in 2018.
But the veteran manager highlighted City's attacking quality - Leroy Sane was involved in all three goals in a breathtaking display - as Arsenal struggle for belief.
"Not a lot to talk about, it was a game with a team of top quality full of confidence, we are a bit low on confidence," Wenger told Sky Sports. "First half was difficult for us after what happened on Sunday.
"But they took advantage of our lack of confidence and I must say our team put a real physical effort in, technically as well. We are going through a difficult period, their quality made it difficult for us.
"It's tough but it's explainable by the fact [of] what happened on Sunday, the consequences of the hype about our performance, it hits you. But I think the players put in huge effort today and unfortunately we had some weak defending."
7 - Arsenal have lost more matches in all competitions in 2018 than any other Premier League team (7). Woeful. pic.twitter.com/BtTDE55G9G-- OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 1, 2018
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a penalty saved by Ederson early in the second half, a moment Wenger said could have been a turning point for Arsenal.
"We come back second half and get the penalty," Wenger added. "We need it to go in to have a chance to come back and it was a blow for us.
"We want to focus on the next game, we played twice against the best side in the country at the moment, it was difficult for us after a not-good performance in the first game.
"We have quality and we want to show that. Confidence is that you have done it before and my confidence is in the quality of the players."