(Reuters) – Arsenal must be optimistic and recover their confidence ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leicester City after losing three of their last four Premier League games, manager Unai Emery said on Friday.
The London club are looking to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three seasons but now find themselves in fifth place, a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with three games to go.
“The first idea for us is to recover our confidence,” Emery told reporters. “Each minute, hour, day and week we are working and training for a big performance to take the three points.
“We lost the last two matches but our focus has to be on the present, next Sunday. If we think negative after the last two matches, we can think positive before Watford and Napoli. Each match is a new history, each match is a new test.
“Being positive and recovering our confidence in our players, in our work, we need this to be ready for the next match. I only want to speak about the next match and prepare to work for that.”
Emery also praised Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers who has overseen a turnaround since his appointment in late February. Leicester have picked up 13 points since his arrival to move within three points of seventh placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“They changed their coach and this coach has given them a new idea, a new energy and a new style,” Emery said. “He hasn’t changed the players a lot but used a different system.
“He’s doing important things in the set-pieces. They feel good now with confidence. They have good individual players with good combinations.”
Emery said Arsenal’s top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could return to the lineup on Sunday after he missed Wednesday’s 3-1 loss at Wolves due to a sinus procedure. The Gabon striker also leads the league’s goal scoring charts with 19 goals.
“He trained today and if he can train tomorrow he may be fit enough for Sunday,” Emery said. “Normally it is a possibility.”
However, midfielders Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Denis Suarez (groin) will miss the match at Leicester.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)