Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims this week’s clash with Barcelona has been a distraction for his team.
Since the Gunners fought back to beat Barca, 2-1, in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, Wenger’s men have lost to Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final, needed two attempts to knock League One side Leyton Orient out of the FA Cup, and missed out on the chance to move within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester United by only drawing with Sunderland.
And the Frenchman admits Tuesday night’s second leg with the Catalan giants has “been a little bit in the heads of the players”.
He said: “It is always subconscious.
“However, I still feel that, especially in the second half, we did enough to win the (Sunderland) game but it didn't work.
“It was a match short on chances, so of course these type of decisions (the offside flag against Andrey Arshavin) are frustrating, and also when you look at the impact it has on the season, because recently we have really been punished.
“However, now we have a big game on Tuesday and the size of the game will help.
“The team is mentally strong and the season is not over.”
And Wenger insists his team will not simply sit back and try to defend their one-goal advantage in Spain.
He added: “We need some fresh legs for the Nou Camp because we will have to run a lot.
“We have not enough security to sit back and defend. You can't go to Barcelona, play for a 0-0 and not try to score.
“It's also not the personality of this team. We will try to score when we get the ball back.”