Premier League: Rice calls for mentality change after Arsenal suffers second straight defeat


Arsenal needs to build a stronger in-game mentality, midfielder Declan Rice said after the north London club dropped points in back-to-back matches with a 2-1 defeat against Fulham on Sunday, hurting its Premier League title challenge.

Arsenal failed to capitalise on an early lead given by Bukayo Saka at Craven Cottage, slipping to fourth place on 40 points at the halfway stage of the campaign, having lost 2-0 at home against West Ham United on Thursday.

While there may be pressure from reigning champion Manchester City and this season’s surprise package Aston Villa’s victories over the weekend, Rice said Arsenal will not hit the panic button.

“When you go 1-0 up, you need to take more control and have more self-belief,” Rice told Sky Sports.

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“You need to have more desire, the mentality needs to be better. We need to demand more for each other.

“In this league, there’s no room to mess up. There’s so many good teams around you and we want to be pushing up the top end of the table. It’s a tough one to take today.”

Arsenal is not fixated on the points table, Rice added.

Villa moved up to 42 points, the same as Liverpool, who leads on goal difference and hosts Newcastle United later on Monday, while City sits third with a game in hand.

“There’s a lot of media who talk and say ‘Arsenal will win the league this year, Arsenal are better this year’, and whatnot. But we don’t get involved in that, we just try to take every game as we can, one by one,” Rice said.

“We’ve been doing really well. There’s been a blip in the road, but there’s no room to panic. There’s still so many games to go, we need to stay positive. It’s not the time to be negative.”

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