Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has defended centre back Shkodran Mustafi after a string of recent poor performances which the French tactician claimed have been a result of fatigue and lack of confidence.
Mustafi, who arrived at the Emirates from Valencia in the summer of 2016, has made 35 appearances for the Gunners across all competitions so far this season but has been scrutinised in recent weeks for some below par performances. Individual errors against CSKA Moscow, Southampton and Newcastle have cost his side a number of goals.
The 26-year-old was not included in Germany's squad for friendlies against Brazil and Spain in March and it is looking increasingly likely that he won't be included in Joachim Löw's 23-man World Cup squad.
Wenger, who is set to depart the Emirates at the end of the season having announced his resignation last week, has acknowledged that Mustafi is running low on confidence but believes he is capable of bouncing back.
“Mustafi is a young defender who has had ups and downs. But I believe overall he has potential. Yes, his confidence is lower than before. He has played many games and most of the mistakes he made have been post-Europa League games because he was a bit jaded," the Arsenal boss explained, as quoted by the Mirror.
“On that front that is part of the fatigue factor which would be the explanation why he had some less good games. I know as a player you can forget quickly how good you are.
“You have to remind them they‘re not as a bad as people think of them at the moment. And that nothing is permanent. Even if you go through a spell which is a bit more difficult, you can always come out of it.
“You remind them as well that what’s happening is not definite and it’s just a thing that we can have an influence on.”