Walcott wants to avoid Arsenal 'tragedy'

The 24-year-old has called on his team-mates to repeat their display from the midweek win at the Allianz Arena, and also for some further ‘home truths’ to be discussed

Theo Walcott has claimed it would be a “tragedy” if Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League this season, with the winger insisting last week’s away win over Bayern Munich displayed their European credentials.

The Gunners produced an impressive performance in the second leg of the last-16 tie in Germany, winning 2-0 on the night, although it was not enough to prevent an exit from the competition following a 3-1 first-leg defeat at the Emirates.

However, with their hopes of qualifying for the continent’s top tournament for a 16th consecutive season boosted by Saturday’s 2-0 win at Swansea, Walcott has sent out a rallying cry to his team-mates to repeat their big game performances for the rest of the season.

“We want to be at places like ­Bayern Munich again, it would be a tragedy for this team not to be in the ­Champions League,” he told The Mirror.

“The way we played in Germany shows how much we have ­underperformed at times this ­season. It’s been up and down. For the big occasions, we tend to turn up – it’s just very frustrating. We need to take the ­desire and confidence we showed in ­Germany into the Premier League.

“Belief is the main thing. There were no negative thoughts against Bayern and everyone wanted to work for each other. We need to show that desire and belief in every game now.”

The 24-year-old also suggested that a lack of leadership on the field has proved detrimental for the Gunners this season, a factor again he believes improved at the Allianz Arena.

“We had a lot of leaders in ­Germany, telling people what to do, there was more communication than there has been previously,” he continued.

“We have definitely been too quiet, we’ve been afraid to tell each other what to do – even to tell each other off. Now we need to show a bit more of that, like we did in ­Germany. We don’t need to always have a go at each other, but we have to speak hard truths.

“We care, we want to prove we want to win and show the desire and commitment. We need to show it to each other and maybe sometimes the referee as well.”

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