In the wake of two defeats in a row – last weekends poor show in a 1-0 defeat at Norwich, followed by Wednesday evenings Champion’s League disaster against Schalke – the Italian keeper suggested that the team have been disrespectful to their club’s badge.
I spoke to the 24-year-old after the midweek loss at the Emirates – I asked him what he personally felt was lacking from the performance.
“I think all over the pitch we had problems as a team,” he responded.
“We didn’t defend so well in the recent games and as well we didn’t create. We have a problem. We know that. We started the season well but we need to get back in shape.”
Mannone was left exposed twice in the second half, conceding goals to Dutch duo Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay in the space of ten minutes.
“We need to work as a team.” He said,
“We are Arsenal football club and we need to show respect to the badge of this big club and to the fans.”
I asked him if he had been frustrated by an apparent lack of concentration from the defence. Arsenal could have conceded another two or three goals as Schalke’s wingers looked to capitalize on some rather lacklustre defensive displays from the Arsenal full backs.
“Definitely Schalke had more chances than us. They kept attacking us on the flanks. They are a really good team but we just need to focus on us. It can’t happen again.”
Mannone has found himself in the first-team through default, due to the unavailability of both Wojciech Szczęsny and Łukasz Fabiański and, despite a good start, the shot-stopper has now conceded 5 goals in four games.
“We’re playing for the Champions’ League. We are second in the group now so we need to go to Germany and put ourselves back in shape.”
I asked him finally if the team had perhaps been feeling a ‘hangover’ from the weekend’s defeat and if that had affected Arsenal’s confidence.
“I thought we needed to bounce back but we had some problems and we didn’t do it. It was a similar game because we never broke the other team down and I think we didn’t have one shot on target to be honest.”
Arsenal did in fact have one shot on target on Wednesday but, as I’m sure Arsene Wenger will feel inclined to remind the team, that is not good enough for a club that intends to compete in the Champion’s League.
image: © wonker