Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has admitted his concern towards the mentality of his side if they fail to overcome Bayern Munich next week.
The Bundesliga leaders won the first leg convincingly 3-1 in England, meaning they have a vital away goal advantage should the tie in Munich end in an aggregate draw. The Gunners have to score at least three goals to even think about progressing- a mammoth task against one of Europe’s in-form teams.
The Gunners do however have some time to prepare with this weekend’s Premier League fixture against Everton rearranged for next month due to their participation in the FA Cup, but while Wenger wants to win in Germany he is more concerned with the mental implications that comes with getting knocked out of the Champions League with vital domestic fixtures on the horizon.
Wenger told Eurosport (according to the Press Association):
Of course, you are not feeling great if you can’t win, but we can stay solid or crack under the pressure.
If you want to know, I am still solid, but I can’t tell you that I feel great right now because my job is about winning games and when you lose you will not find a single coach in this world who feels good.
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I am not worried about us potentially coming back against Bayern, I am more worried about consequences that could manifest in the heads of our players.
You will never know how they can absorb those blows and how the team responds to disappointment. This is the most worrying aspect for me.
But from the experience of how to handle the end of the season, we know how to deal with that. We have had lots of experience.
The Gunners have a mountain to climb in Munich but if they manage to pull off a decent result and not necessarily qualify (simiarly to against AC Milan last year), it could be a big boost for the teams mentality after a difficult last few weeks.
It is important the players know that we are behind them with a very challenging two months set to commence otherwise they will face the reality of failing to qualify for the Champions League which will put the Gunners hierarchy out of pocket – and my goodness we don’t want that do we?
Arsenal are very unlikely to qualify for the next round lets be honest, but a strong outing will both help their confidence and restore some pride after key losses against Spurs, Blackburn and Bayern. In saying that, there is still a small chance if they manage to re-find their scoring boots and net three times…