Arsene Wenger concedes they'll need to prioritise the Europa League after falling 13 points behind North London rivals Tottenham in the race for the top four.
The Gunners have lost their fourth successive game in all competitions, falling to a 2-1 loss at Brighton - which heaps more pressure on their veteran manager, who is appealing for support as they bid to end their worst run of form in 16 years.
To explain how criticism of him and his players is making them feel, Wenger used a most unusual analogy.
“Look, I can understand the frustration, it is difficult to recover from what happened to us last week - we are going through a tough time.
“We have to be realistic, we need two teams to collapse to qualify for the Champions League, and I don't see that happening.
"Two teams to drop so many points is very difficult to imagine. But we have to give our best as long as we can, and the Europa League becomes important.
“It's difficult to me to get into any negative assessment. The team needs more support at the moment. Tough objective judgement as well. When you struggle for confidence, it's difficult as well when you have just the trousers on...
“It's easy to take the trousers off as well, but when you are naked completely you have to find a shirt and try to put it on again, get dressed normally again."
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Wenger feels his team's recent busy fixture list contributed to yesterday's defeat.
"We had difficulty to get going and we suffered a lot physically in the first half.
"After that, mentally as well I believe that the lack of confidence, linked with the physical aspect, made us lose some balls where they took advantage of it.
"Overall, on top of that, we made some defensive mistakes, where they took advantage of it as well.
"In the second half, it was all us. But we lacked a bit of sharpness and freshness physically, to make the difference.
"At the moment, we play too many games and are charged negatively on top of that because we lose them. So it's difficult."