Unai Emery refuses to be downhearted by his side’s stuttering form while Arsenal remain within touching distance of their Premier League top-four rivals.
While a 1-1 draw at Brighton temporarily lifts the Gunners into the Champions League places, the nature of the performance at the AMEX Stadium and the dropping of two more points frustrated players and supporters alike.
Emery insists that the best way forward is to maintain perspective and to keep taking each game as they come, the next of which takes him to Anfield to play league leaders Liverpool.
“I think for us, it’s best to think of the next match,” he told his post-game press conference.
“Also to continue working in our process. It’s very important for us to go into the Champions League, but we need to do one process, to do one more established team and to be stronger.
“We also need time to do that. But football is the next match and we are going to think of Saturday in Liverpool.
“It’s a big match, but we are here and we are also close for the top four and we can continue in our way, thinking match-to-match and thinking also that we can do better than today.
“Matches like today or like Southampton, where we create more chances than the opposition, we could finish better in these moments and this is our work.”
Having watched his side concede in the league for the 25th time – on this occasion Jurgen Locadia taking advantage of a terribly mistimed header by Stephan Lichtsteiner to equalise for Brighton – tightening up the defence remains very high up Emery’s list of priorities.
Injuries are making his life difficult, but he maintains that his motivation is high while a Champions League finish remains within their grasp.
“It’s football,” he said of Lichtsteiner’s mistake. “We are in our process and we are improving. We are wanting to take one stability in offence and defence.
“It’s a difficult moment for us because we have injuries, but it’s an opportunity for other players and I want also to look at other players playing in the big games, like today, and on Saturday against Liverpool.
“It’s closing one option for an injured player, but it’s opening [the door] for another play to come with us and play. We need that, and also to use different tactics and systems, because we can change players’ positions.
“We finished with Xhaka playing at centre back to help Lichtsteiner and give Ainsley more chances to go forward in more attacking moments, because his quality is more for that. But our process… I think this draw is not the best but also not the worst.
“We have another match on Saturday. We’re thinking about that, about recovering the players to be OK and to look at how Koscielny is, how Mustafi is, if he’s OK for Saturday. While we are near the top four, I can have a big motivation.
“Today is for me very important. We’ve spoke about our motivation and our progression [the three points would have been very important] – but football is like that. In 90 minutes, we drew and we need to [think] for Saturday.”