Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Arteta and Leno play up the importance of positive energy

Arsenal’s hopes of playing in Europe next season might be on a knife-edge but Mikel Arteta is refusing to think about the possibility for fear of transmitting negativity around his squad.

Out of the domestic cups and currently ninth in the Premier League, the Gunners know the best chance of qualifying for Europe is by winning this season’s Europa League.

Having not won a European trophy since 1994, it’s a big ask. At the same time, a four-game route to Champions League football via tonight’s quarter-final second leg with Slavia Prague, a potential semi-final double-header with Unai Emery’s Villarreal and a 26th May final versus one of Manchester United, Ajax or Roma, means it’s very much “up for grabs now.”

Given the possibilities, it’s understandable why the boss is doing his utmost to remain optimistic.

“No,” Arteta said when asked whether he had contemplated the chance of failure. “Because I don’t want to put it in my mind or transmit it to any of the players or anybody at the club.”

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno echoed those thoughts when he faced the media on Wednesday saying, “Arsenal belongs to Europe; that’s our target and that’s our job.”

To get that job done, we’re going to need to cut out the individual errors that have peppered the season so far. While Leno has looked on aghast at some of the defensive howlers (and made a couple himself) he maintains that there’s no benefit to pointing the finger during games.

“I don’t see the point in going to my team-mate to blame him or to do something else,” said the German.

“In some situations, when we make easy or sloppy mistakes, maybe you have to build the confidence again, to be positive to him. It’s not a mistake through laziness or something like this, you have to build confidence. We don’t have the type of team where we destroy ourselves.

“We have to be positive, to show positive body language. This is also my mindset: to be positive, to have a positive attitude and create a positive atmosphere on the pitch.

“I couldn’t see any situations where we would be fighting in the game or something like this. Every situation is different but most of the time I don’t see the point in creating a fight on the pitch or in the dressing room.”

Leno also refuted suggestions that the players had let the coaching staff down with their performances this season.

“I don’t think so. Because we are all together, it’s not about the manager or the team or somebody else.

“We’re all in this all together. Mikel does a great job, the team is fighting for him, for themselves, for the club, for the fans, and we also want the best for ourselves.

“You can see that all the time, that the team is fighting. Our performances in the last couple of weeks, the results were not the best but you cannot change it. We have to look forward and there are still a lot of big games to go.

“It starts tomorrow, then hopefully the semi-finals and the final as well. Hopefully we can finish the season with a trophy and a great result in the Premier League.”

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Biggles

Cut out the silly mistakes and lapses in concentration that have plagued the team throughout the season and we should get past Slavia. Whether that’s using positive energy or not, who cares? If our players don’t realise what they have to do (and what they mustn’t do) in this particular game – obviously the most important of the season so far – then there’s little hope.

Johnny 4 Hats

“Cut out the silly mistakes and lapses in concentration”.

So be less Arsenal, to summarise.

C.B.

Let’s hope we can bring the FA Cup spirit from last season into the rest of the Europa League.

Jim

i really hope so. can we do it without a repeat run of form from auba? im not so sure. his attitude and performances in that period were essential to that spirit in the team.

Jim

well… looking good after tonight!

Naked Cygan

Arteta and most of players deserve full credit for the “Too much talk, no action on the pitch” throphy this season.

LEFT08

That’s because most are mediocre at best.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Match day, we just support, nothing else.

naked cygan

Yes, match day we all want the same thing. Win + no injuries.

Biggles

Yes. I tend to agree with that. Regarding players, how many times have we read comments on this very site after a disappointing performance saying that they must improve, get things right etc.. Then another disappointing performance comes along and guess what the players are saying! Perhaps Arsenal should think of changing the club motto to: “Less talk, more do” to encourage the troops?

bob

You do realise interviews are mandatory for players and management?

That’s how interviews work, they are asked questions and have to respond back….via talking.

I’m baffled you have yet to realise this. Do you imagine they are running about the place trying to flag down journalists and force-feed them quotes?

There’s a match later lads, and even though we can’t watch it at the Grove, let’s at least try to be a little supportive!

Biggles

Oh dear. Yes, I think we all realise that players give interviews, you are not alone in that, but it’s up to them what they say. Just coming up with the same platitudes – but subsequently failing to do anything about correcting the problems that they mentioned – is what we’re talking about here.

It’s not a question of being supportive or not (as a season ticket holder for many years, I think I can probably claim to be that) it’s about suggesting that, generally, our players talk less about improving and actually improve.

Andreas

What answers should he have given?

Vonnie

Not much positive energy on here so far, bunch of miseries.

Daveo

Let’s hold hands then Vonnie: “Kumbaya, my lord, Kumbaya…”

…Or perhaps “Our father who art in heaven…” is more apt.

onenil

How do you feel now? Disappointed we won 4-0 I expect.

Daveo

Stoked actually. You?

Biggles

True, however, it is possible to want the team to progress against Slavia and at the same time discuss long-standing issues/problems. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I doubt our players are reading any of these posts so there’s no danger that we’re “letting the side down ” (literally) by discussing such things, even on a matchday.

Andy

‘You can see all the time that the team is fighting’ .. really? Why do their PR people come up with this shite? Seriously, what’s the point.

CR7

Possibly final against Granada*, Man United, Ajax and Roma.

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