Per Mertesacker has revealed he and his Arsenal team-mates held crisis talks after the disastrous 3-1 defeat to Monaco in an attempt to interpret what went wrong.
The Gunners are preparing to take on Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, but face an almost impossible task to qualify. They must score at least three goals against a defence that have conceded just two in seven games this season.
But Mertesacker, who will lead Arsenal out as captain at the Stade Louis II tonight, believes Arsenal's turnaround in form has left them with a good chance of turning around the deficit. They have recorded four straight wins, including an impressive 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford, conceding just twice.
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"It’s always a topic to analyse things that went right and things went wrong."
"We speak a lot to each other, even when we win," Mertesacker told reporters. "We need to learn after defeat and winning. We always try to improve as a defensive unit. It’s always a topic to analyse things that went right and things went wrong."
Things certainly went wrong against Monaco. Arsenal were heavy favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals, but found themselves 2-0 down early in the second half. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain clawed one back in injury time, but a comical defensive lapse allowed Monaco to score a third.
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Mertesacker admits there will be a mental barrier for his Arsenal team-mates to overcome, but thinks confidence is so high that they can beat any team in the world.
"We feel after the game we moved on from that and that’s why we’re confident we can beat any team in the world"
He said: "After that game lot of things didn’t go well. That is a mental thing for tomorrow. We know mentally that we weren’t really up for it and at times we could feel there was a bit of pressure and we couldn’t really cope with that.
"But we feel after the game we moved on from that and that’s why we’re confident we can beat any team in the world.
"We’re coming out of great week with two important wins and a good level of confidence. There is always a good mood in the squad and during the season we’ve responded well. But we have to face truth and show a different face tomorrow. We need to embrace the challenge."
Do you think Arsenal have what it takes to make it to the quarter-finals? Give us your views in the comments box below!
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