Arsenal players held clear-the-air talks as form slumped - Shkodran Mustafi
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has said a team meeting at which players voiced their opinions on a bad run of form has helped the Gunners bounce back.
Mustafi said the meeting took place amid a February slump that included four defeats in five games, among them a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
"Everyone knew it was a difficult period," he told the official Arsenal website.
"The meeting was about trying to listen to different opinions, different thinking and different feelings, and I think we found a way to try to change a bit.
"It's not that easy because one meeting is not going to change a lot, especially not during the season when you're playing every three days, but it was important to speak our opinions out loud.
"Overall it was about giving 110 percent to try to get out of it, and I think we managed it well."
The Gunners are on a three-game winning streak going into Sunday's home match against Stoke, having beaten AC Milan to reach the Europa League quarterfinals.
Winning that competition could yet salvage a difficult season, and Mustafi admitted that the team had failed to live up to expectations.
"To be honest, this season has been more disappointing for us because we had bigger targets," the centre-back said.
"One really big positive thing is that to be able to recover from such a period when everything goes bad and you're not in form, to be close together and come out of it as a team is a really big, massive thing.
"I've been playing in a lot of teams across Europe and I've been playing in teams where we have been doing well, I've been playing in teams where we've been struggling, and it's not easy to come out, especially when you're a big team.
"You find yourself fighting in every game against every opponent. I think you have to give credit to the team because we managed to come together and go back to the basics.
"Everyone was fighting for each other to try to get back on a winning streak."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.