Unai Emery has defended the mentality of his Arsenal squad as they continue to struggle away from home.
The Gunners have won only five of their 15 Premier League games on the road this season, with three of those victories coming at the sides in the relegation zone.
In stark contrast, results at the Emirates Stadium have been good enough to keep Emery’s side in contention for a top-four finish.
Their home record – losing just once in front of their own fans all season and only title challengers Manchester City and Liverpool boasting a better run – means a rare away win at Watford on Monday night will put a return to the top four back in their own hands.
Such a difference in results has become commonplace for Arsenal in recent years, with only four away wins in Arsene Wenger’s final season.
But Emery has refused to point the finger at his players and believes their position in the table proves they are getting better as his first campaign in charge progresses.
Asked if poor results away from home were due to a psychological problem, the Spaniard replied: “But we are fourth at the moment and we are playing to be in the top four.
“I think we are showing we are competitive and have a good mentality. Our mentality, we need to continue improving with a process.
“This team have a good mentality and they are improving, we are improving and the table is giving us this answer – we are improving.
“We can see two things, one is the amazing response at home, big matches and big results and away we are doing sometimes good matches.
“We are playing some matches and being competitive but in other moments the opposition, they are being more competitive than us and they battle us but each match is a new challenge and response for us – starting Monday.”
After starting the season with defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea and with Arsenal finishing outside the Champions League places in the last two years, Emery is pleased to be heading into the final six league games of the season with the top four still in reach.
“Each match gives us a big challenge for the possibility to improve and take three points and the possibility to end the season in the top four,” he added.
“For us that would be a big success. When we started last in the table after the first two matches in the season we were thinking about arriving in this moment with the possibility of being in the top four in our hands.”
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