Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called for his players to ignore the jeers he received on substituting Joel Campbell in Wednesday's 2-1 home defeat to Swansea City and admitted they need to be realistic about their chances of winning the Premier League title.
According to Adam Shergold of the MailOnline, Wenger spoke of the audible boos from some sections of the Emirates Stadium crowd after he replaced goalscorer Campbell with Danny Welbeck.
"These kind of decisions don't mean that Campbell did badly," said the Arsenal manager. "Let's focus on our job and ignore that. We have to take the fans on our side. They were quite good but we faded in the game and you could see in the last part we had a lack of movement to create dangerous situations."
Reflecting on the disappointing defeat, in which the Gunners went ahead before succumbing to goals from Wayne Routledge and Ashley Williams, Wenger added:
I think it is a very unlucky defeat because we created many chances and we were unlucky in our finishing. The two shots on target they had in the whole game were the two goals.
It's a very disappointing result and the players are very down. We have to focus on our job and come back reminding ourselves that was have some quality as well.
At the moment, I am worrying more about our results. We just lost three games and that is always a very difficult moment for the team. At the moment we don't dream, we are realistic.
We will not talk about titles tonight, I'm not in the mood. It's very difficult because everybody drops points.
As Squawka Football revealed, the Gunners were unable to turn around their poor form:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Arsenal have lost 3 consecutive games across all competitions for the first time since April 2010. https://t.co/k8c2bkUqNY2016-3-2 21:50:33
Since their encouraging win over Manchester City in December, Arsenal have failed to go on a consistent run of wins and have only picked up three points in four of their last 11 Premier League games.
Though Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City also lost on Wednesday to mitigate the Gunners' failure, football writer Miguel Delaney believes Arsenal's defeat is worse given the level of opposition they faced, and a symptom of their wider failings in recent months:
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
Can imagine Spurs will feel better about results elsewhere than Arsenal will on coming in. A blip for Spurs. What's happening with Arsenal?2016-3-2 21:39:26
Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney
To be 1-0 up at home to an open Swansea genuinely must be one of the easiest situations in the Premier League.2016-3-2 21:42:39
Indeed, while Arsenal are only three points behind Spurs and six behind Leicester, their form raises huge concerns over their ability to take the title.
In years gone by, their fragility and tendency to choke in the games against their title rivals was a hallmark of their season.
This year, they have earned impressive wins over the likes of City and Leicester but thrown away matches that in theory are far more straightforward, for example against Swansea and in their previous game against a struggling and depleted Manchester United.
BT Sport pundit Paul Scholes believes the Gunners have flattered to deceive at times but ultimately have failed to develop the mental strength needed to challenge for the title:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
"When it comes to the crunch, @Arsenal lose their bottle!" Scholes believes Wenger's job is under pressure at #AFC. https://t.co/yOOrZeYnZI2016-3-2 23:15:31
With Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea all struggling, this season was a golden opportunity for Arsenal to finally win another league title after 12 disappointing years.
The title isn't quite out of their reach just yet, but a defeat to local rivals Tottenham on Saturday would almost certainly put an end to their hopes.