By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that Arsenal's recent tendency to let leads slip can become a "vicious circle".
The Frenchman watched his side squander a four-goal advantage at Newcastle in February while in the past week Arsenal have dropped four points despite leading Liverpool 1-0 with seconds remaining and going 3-1 up at Tottenham.
The critics have been in full voice since Wednesday's North London derby and Wenger acknowledges that his players must hold onto their nerve to hold onto leads. But he fears that the constant reminder of Arsenal's recent fallibility does nothing to help solve the problem.
"Exactly, it is a vicious circle problem and you can only deal with that with calm and by dominating your nerves," said Wenger at his pre-match media briefing.
"We try to get the players to focus on continuing to play in a calm way but we must as well give some credit to the opponents. For example Liverpool was a typical nervy problem. Tottenham I must say they have quality up front.
"There are a lot of things you need [to keep leads], first of all experience and calm. Our defenders are under pressure because they are criticised for not holding on for results. That makes the problem a little bit worse. I feel what is important is to continue to play whatever the score is. I feel we need to keep our nerves more and communicate better."
It was put to Wenger at his press conference that his Arsenal team lacks a 'winning mentality' but he believes that their Premier League consistency since Christmas proves they do have what it takes to succeed.
"I would say we are on a 16-game unbeaten run in the Premier League so at least we don’t have a losing mentality," said the manager.
"It’s down to us to transform the draws in a winning habit. I understand that your job [in the media] is to create crisis after crisis but I have distance [from that]. When you are on a 16-game unbeaten run, with the quality of the Premier League, the situation is not as black as you paint it.
"We were 1-0 up in the 98th minute against Liverpool, it’s difficult to say that you can predict what will happen after that. You can never legislate for what is very important. You can make sure you produce an excellent performance. If you produce excellent performance after excellent performance you will win the games."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Apr 2011