LONDON, England- Arsene Wenger says Arsenal have “recovered from crisis” having won their last four games.
Back-to-back 3-0 defeats to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final and in the Premier League came in a run of four consecutive losses over February and March, with Wenger admitting fans had “hatred” towards his position as manager.
Arsenal are now 13 points off the top four with just seven league games remaining, but can still qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning the Europa League.
They play the first leg of their quarter-final against CSKA Moscow at the Emirates on Thursday, and Wenger believes his side are out of a “crisis” period.
“We were very disappointed with our result against [Manchester] City,” said Wenger. “It takes time to grieve and to recover.
“But because the mentality in the team is very good, strong and healthy – we’re recovered.
“I think always you judge a team by the way they come out of a crisis. On that front I believe that is very positive on our side.
“There’s some extra pressure on us to do extremely well in this competition but that’s part of being where we are.
“We have to see it in a way it’s an opportunity we want to take and keep the priorities right and of course focus on how well we play together, how we want to play.”
Arsenal have scored nine goals in their last three games in comfortable wins over Stoke, AC Milan and Watford since then, but attendances at the Emirates have dropped.
Wenger has repeatedly been the subject of calls for him to leave from the stands, but he is unconcerned by the prospect of the atmosphere affecting his team’s performance in the first leg against CSKA before heading to Russia.
“I’m not worried about that, the crowd when something is at stake is always behind us,” said Wenger. “What will decide the attitude of the crowd is the quality of our game.
“I’m always concerned when our stadium is not completely full but I don’t think that will be a problem tomorrow, the problem for us is our performance.”
Wenger also hopes Arsenal’s game against CSKA is not impacted by strained relations between UK and Russian governments.
“Honestly nobody knows what is going on and it looks more to be diplomatic relations are a bit complicated,” he said.
“I hope it will not affect both ties, the supporters, the Russians who come here and the English who travel there.”