Unai Emery admits his players are in need of a big confidence boost after Arsenal produced another dire display on the way to a 2-1 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Gunners, playing against the backdrop of a record-low crowd for a first team game at the Emirates, took the lead in a low-key first half courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s smart low finish.
The home side had chances to double the lead in the opening moments of the second period, but heads quickly dropped when Daichi Kamada levelled on 55 minutes.
Capitalising on more lax defending, the same player netted again nine minutes later to set up a frustrating final 25 minutes for the few stoic fans who stuck out proceedings. For the second home game in a row, the final whistle was greeted by boos and calls for the manager to be sacked.
Having passed up the chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League for the second successive game, Arsenal will now have to avoid a five-goal defeat by Standard Liege in their final group game to progress.
Facing the media after the game, Emery said: “I think we deserved more, we controlled the game in the first half, we scored one goal.
“We, in the first half, were happy for how we took the performance as a team and also individually.
“In the second half we started the same, we needed to score a goal but we lost the control of the game after 15 minutes and they scored two goals.
“At the end we changed two players for injuries and we couldn’t do some more offensive changes to achieve, and to take fresh players. We didn’t push, we didn’t really take the chances to draw or win this match.”
He added: “Now our moment is not good. We need to win and we need to gain confidence.
“I think we are better than we are showing, everybody, the players, the coaches and me.
“Now we lost some confidence and we need to win. Really, the response in the first half was good and we started very well again in the second half.
“We had two injures with Mustafi and David Luiz and that moment was important because when you’re losing you need some fresh players offensively to change and give the team more options. We couldn’t do that.”
Arsenal travel to Norwich on Sunday. It seems hard to believe that Unai Emery will still be the man in charge, but at this point, who knows?