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Emery urges Arsenal to retain belief in top-four race

23 April 2019 16:09

Unai Emery remains upbeat about Arsenal's top-four chances and has told his players they cannot allow Sunday's home loss to Crystal Palace to derail their season.

The Gunners suffered their first Premier League defeat at Emirates Stadium since August when they went down 3-2 to Palace as Emery's side missed the chance to move up to third.

However, their rivals for the Champions League qualification spots also slipped up across the last round of fixtures, with Tottenham beaten by Manchester City, Chelsea held to a 2-2 draw with Burnley and Manchester United thumped 4-0 by Everton.

Arsenal are just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with a game in hand at Wolves to come on Wednesday, and Emery is keen to ensure his squad's belief does not waver.

Speaking at a news conference about the Palace result, he said: "We made mistakes that we usually don't make at home.

"They used our mistakes to [punish us] and produce this performance against us. They have good players.

"We can lose and we can win, but I think the team is showing consistency and one exception like Sunday cannot give us doubts or a loss in confidence. We need to continue to be strong in our minds in this moment because we need to be strong, first with our confidence.

"[Finishing in the top four] is in our hands if we win. We want to be intelligent.

"On Sunday, we didn't win but maybe today we can say that one point was important on Sunday. Maybe that can happen in the next matches. We will prepare to win but we can win, draw or lose.

"The first situation for us is in our hands if we win, but then we're going to play difficult matches."

Emery was unusually secretive about the team's injury situation and he was unwilling to reveal if Granit Xhaka would return from the hip injury that kept him out against Palace.

The Gunners' midfield options are already depleted with Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) and Denis Suarez (groin) sidelined.

"I am not telling you what our idea is with the players, with the system, with the injured players or the first XI," Emery added.

"I want to keep all information to myself for tomorrow. Sorry, I think it's better for us."

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