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Arsenal stars have let Wenger down, admits Wilshere

AFP  |  London 

admits Arsenal's stars hadn't done enough to ease the pressure on Arsene Wenger before they finally took the strain off their beleaguered boss by beating AC

Wenger's side ended a wretched run of four successive defeats as they won 2-0 at in the last 16 first leg on Thursday.

With Arsenal having lost eight of their previous 13 matches in all competitions, Wenger was facing a fight to save his job ahead of the trip to

Arsenal are languishing 13 points adrift of the Premier League's top four and a dismal 3-0 defeat against Manchester City in the League Cup final exposed numerous flaws in Wenger's squad.

Winning the is likely to be Arsenal's only route into next season's Champions League, a target which seems an essential requirement to persuade Arsenal's hierarchy to retain Wenger.

And ahead of Watford's visit to the in the on Sunday, Gunners midfielder conceded he and his team-mates had been performing well below their best for several weeks.

"We know we haven't been good enough. We are aware of it," he said.

After almost 22 years in charge at Arsenal, Wenger has presided over a major drop in standards in the last few years and Gunners fans have been increasingly vocal in their calls for his dismissal.

But, although are in a rut themselves, Arsenal's desperation for a morale-boosting victory was so strong that believes they can use take the momentum from the San Siro to ensure Wenger silences the critics.

"If anyone tells you you haven't got to prove anything to anyone, they are wrong," he said.

"You are always trying to prove yourself to people and play well in the next game.

"We have got to use this win as a target. We have got to reach these levels every week.

"We have got another game on Sunday and then next week, the job in this competition is not done yet...this is AC

"They can come, want to play and want to win the game. We have to be ready."

- Painful defeat -


Like Wenger, England international also faces an uncertain future with Arsenal.

The 26-year-old has little more than three months remaining on his current deal but negotiations over an extension remain at an impasse.

started the season needing to prove his fitness and form in order to earn a new contract.

He has returned to being a first-team regular after been limited to action earlier in the campaign.

"All I can tell you is that we are no closer to sorting anything out," said.

Watford inflicted a painful defeat on Arsenal with two late goals at in October, with Hornets striker infuriating the Gunners by questioning their lack of 'cojones' after the game.

The Hornets have won three of their last four matches to consolidate their mid-table position and boss is in confident mood.

"I think always is a good moment to play. I try to enjoy every game. Every game is a chance to get points and I don't think anything else," he said.

"Always it's complicated to play a big club or team, but we are confident we can do it.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 10:15 IST