Arsene Wenger responds to Laurent Koscielny's admission that Arsenal have a 'mental problem'

Defender gave a scathing self-assessment of his side following the 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich

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Arsene Wenger has responded to Laurent Koscielny’s admission that Arsenal have a “mental problem” following the 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich.

Arsenal are facing a seventh straight Champions League last-16 exit after suffering a humbling defeat at the Allianz Arena two weeks ago, with their only hope of reaching the quarter-finals coming in the form of a 4-0 win or better in next week’s second leg.

The prospect of such a victory is hugely unlikely, given Arsenal have repeatedly come off second best when facing Bayern over the last four years, and it led to Koscielny’s admission that the squad have a big problem when it comes to the most important matches.

Wenger does not believe that Koscielny meant to be so damning on his verdict of Arsenal’s issues, and instead claimed that a lack of confidence was what he was trying to convey, given his side had also suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat by Chelsea just a week before the trip to Bayern.

“He wanted to say we lacked a bit confidence [against Bayern],” Wenger said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.

“When you have a bad result it plays on your mind. We just have to focus on the way that you play. To take the opportunity you have to show your quality.”

With Arsenal on the cusp of European elimination and 13 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea – albeit with a game in hand – many critics have turned on the players rather than Wenger, though the imminent expiration of his contract has also strengthen calls for him to end his 20-year reign at the club.

With the Bayern return less than a week away and a crucial trip to Anfield the Saturday evening kick-off, Wenger needs his players to deliver on their promise and look like the side that at the start of the season were tipped to make much of the title running, rather than the top-four strugglers that they currently resemble.

However, Wenger does not believe that they owe him a performance due to their recent failings, and instead the Frenchman told the squad that they owe it to themselves to show they can live with the likes of Bayern.

“They owe themselves a performance,” he added. “These are quality players. Everything went against us [in Munich].

“We responded at Sutton and we want to respond again. After that we have a chance to show Bayern we can cause them problems.”