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Jan 23, 2013

Wenger: Walcott right about attitude

Arsene Wenger says he agrees with Theo Walcott's assertion that his Arsenal players "don't believe they are good enough", and wonders whether all the negativity around the team is affecting the squad.

• Blog: Is it all in their heads?

Walcott questioned whether the side have a psychological issue after the latest first-half capitulation against a big team, this time in the 2-1 defeat away to Chelsea on Sunday. The Arsenal manager, however, could only concur.

"I agree with him," Wenger said. "The players come out and think 'we could have done better'. But when you look at the first half we lost goals we shouldn't lose, 50/50s you cannot lose in big games. You can say what you want but you have to go with a mentality in big games based on belief and total commitment.

"You can always find explanations but at the end of the day you turn up and you play with full power. Is the repeated sceptical attitude of the people around us affecting the belief of the players? I don't know. But we have to raise beyond that and take that as a challenge.

"I don't question the players' character but then you look at the consistency of the results in the big games. The attitude of the players is fantastic. They want to do well and are focused, maybe a bit too respectful in the big games of other teams.

Every time we start to show what we can do it is when the game is already lost. That is what we have to change.

"You want to win your big games and turn up with a committed attitude. Last year we could win big games and on Sunday you come out of the game and think 'what is happening?'

"You can always find explanations but at the end of the day you turn up and you play with full power. Is the repeated sceptical attitude of the people around us affecting the belief of the players? I don't know. But we have to raise beyond that and take that as a challenge."

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