You forget quickly how good you are - Wenger acknowledges Arsenal confidence crisis
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal have forgotten how good they are during the club's torrid run of form.
Arsenal have lost their last four games in all competitions, including successive 3-0 defeats at the hands of Premier League champions elect Manchester City and a shock loss to Ostersunds in the Europa League.
The Gunners progressed to the last-16 despite that defeat at Emirates Stadium, earning a trip to face Italian giants AC Milan at San Siro on Thursday.
And under-fire Wenger told his squad to remember their qualities to turn around a dire string of results that has renewed speculation over his future at the club.
"I think, first of all, the players are a bit affected because they want to win," Wenger said at a news conference on Wednesday.
"In life you forget quickly how good you are. Players change their mind quickly.
"Focus on what you can do better and realise what you didn't do well and don't be too worried about the consequences of a bad result."
#Gattuso: "Compared to Wenger, I'm just a rookie. We are preparing for this match the best way we can. @Arsenal are a very technical team that like to have the ball at all times. We must do well to hold them and to make them run when we have the ball"#ACMAFC-- AC Milan (@acmilan) March 7, 2018
While 2018 has been disastrous for Arsenal, Gennaro Gattuso has turned around Milan's form this year, the Rossoneri climbing to seventh in Serie A under the former Italy midfielder.
Gattuso indicated he was looking forward to the challenge of facing Wenger, describing himself as a "rookie" compared to the veteran French manager, but the Gunners boss conceded that with Arsenal struggling badly he could learn from his counterpart.
"He's doing very well at the moment," Wenger added. "I'm not doing well, so I'm the guy who can get advice from him."
Laurent has joined the boss for his press conference...-- Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 7, 2018
"We're disappointed with our results and how we've played, so we need to focus on being together tomorrow. That's the most important thing."#ACMvAFCpic.twitter.com/QwoPGK6X5N
Last season Arsenal won the FA Cup to end a poor campaign on a high and, with Champions League qualification unlikely through the Premier League, Wenger accepts the pressure is on to win the Europa League.
"It makes me think about last year, but last year we made 75 points in the Premier League and missed out on the Champions League by a point," Wenger said.
"This is an opportunity we have to take. It increases the pressure for sure. I think it is a good opportunity.
"You want to show you have the quality and the strength and you can only show that when it is difficult."