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Nov 5, 2012

Wenger: Players lacking confidence

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits his side have suffered a collapse in confidence after their latest defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

• Blog: Arsenal make it easy for United
• Ramsey out with groin injury

Wenger has hinted that his players are wallowing in unnecessary self pity after some disappointments in the last month which have led to their worst start under the Frenchman and he is now seeking to rebuild self belief ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League clash with Schalke.

"At the moment, it is as if the players have forgotten how good they are," suggested Wenger ahead of the game. "Our game is about creating chances, about going forward, about having an offensive drive. We didn't see that against United.

"Our form is a concern because we had a very promising start and of course we have gone through a difficult spell. We want to respond to that and rectify that very quickly because it is not only the fact we lost the United game but the way we lost it.

"We have analysed it, watched it and spoken about it. We know that we didn't perform as well as expected. There is only one way to respond to that and that is to come out with a good performance tomorrow night.

"I believe that if you look at our overall performance, we are still the best defence in the league. So let's not focus on the goals we concede. What is most important is that we play again with our enthusiasm, desire to create chances and enjoy our game, more than about 'do we concede a goal or not'."

Wenger is eyeing the game against Schalke is an ideal chance to get back on track, but he is expecting a stern test after the Germans won 2-0 at Emirates Stadium last month.

"In terms of the group, the fact that we lost against Schalke means it is important that we win this time and finish the job well," he said. "We are still in a strong position in this group but of course we want to come out with a good result."

Meanwhile, Wenger has offered his first comments on defender Andre Santos's contentious move to swap shirts with Robin van Persie at half-time on Saturday, claiming it was not a clever thing to do.

"I spoke to him about that but I don't want to make too much of a big story of it," said the Arsenal boss. "I believe that was not the right thing to do at all, but that is not an explanation for our bad performance on Saturday."

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