Arsene Wenger has a message for Arsenal fans about Shkodran Mustafi

Arsene Wenger insists that he is backing Shkodran Mustafi to enjoy a positive long-term future at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger Photo: The Sport Review

Arsene Wenger has insisted that he is backing Shkodran Mustafi to enjoy a successful long-term future at Arsenal despite his stuttering form.

The German defender has been criticised for his shaky performances at the back for the north London club in recent weeks.

Mustafi has still been a regular fixture in the first team for Arsenal this season and he has scored three goals and made one assist in 25 Premier League games for the north London side.

The 26-year-old has not been able to product consistent performances for the Gunners this season, prompting speculation about his long-term future at the club.

However, although Wenger admits that Mustafi appears to be struggling for confidence, he is still backing him to develop into a key defender for the Gunners.

Speaking at his post-match news conference after Arsenal’s 4-1 win over West Ham on Sunday, Wenger said: “His confidence is lower.

“He has played many games and most of the mistakes he made have been post-Europa League games because he was a bit jaded.

“On that front that is part of the fatigue factor which would be the explanation why he had some less good games.

“We are in a job where we can’t demand that people, when you make mistakes, say that it’s absolutely wonderful. That’s part of Arsenal. Like me when I lose games, I have to accept that.”

He added: “He wasn’t close (to leaving). He is a young defender who has had ups and downs. I believe overall he has potential. He is one of the guys who is committed and goes for the challenges.

“He is not one guy who hides from the responsibility, so overall he will be a promising defender for the future. Experience helps.

“In this job, goalkeeper and central defender is a job for old people or older people. So overall that plays a part of course.”

Arsenal will now switch their attentions towards their crunch Europa League semi-final showdown against Atletico Madrid on Thursday night.

The north London side are aiming to win the Europa League to qualify for next season’s Champions League, as the Gunners are currently in sixth place in the table and looking likely to miss out on a top-four finish.

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