Arsene Wenger is not surprised that Arsenal fans booed his side during the disappointing 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Thursday (1 March) after identifying a lack of confidence as the main reason behind the Gunners' seventh loss in 2018.

A half-empty Emirates Stadium jeered the Arsenal players as goals from Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Leroy Sane before the break saw Wenger's side suffer another disappointing defeat only days after losing the Carabao Cup Final to the Premier League with the same final score.

"Do you want the fans to be happy when you're 3-0 down? I'm surprised that you're surprised," Wenger said in the press conference after Arsenal's 3-0 defeat to City.

"It [The low turnout] was certainly a combination of the weather conditions and the fact that we had a big disappointment on Sunday. There was a combination of the two things together."

Wenger conceded that not only the fans are disappointed with the Gunners' bad run as the Frenchman admitted that the difference in confidence between City and Arsenal players was the main factor.

"I felt it was a game of top intensity physically. I think we produced our highest physical performance of the season and Manchester City did as well, by quite a long way. Physically, the two teams gave a lot.

"I knew that the first half could have been difficult for us because we came out of Sunday's game with a low confidence level. They came back with a very positive mindset and that's why they took advantage of every defensive weakness we showed in the first half," Wenger conceded.

"At the end of the day, I must say we lost against a top-quality team who at the moment are the best team in the country. On top of that, the combination of their quality plus the fact that they're high in confidence and we're low in confidence, played a big part in the game tonight.

"After that, in the second half we came out and dominated well in the first 20 minutes. We needed the penalty to go in to get a bit of momentum, so that was the killer of the game after that.

"When your confidence is not at the best, the first thing that goes is your fluidity in the movement, the spontaneous side of the game. You could see that tonight. I don't deny their quality because they have top quality, but we're going through a difficult patch at the moment. That's part of football as well unfortunately."

The defeat leaves Arsenal 10 points off the top four and winning the Europa League looks increasing the only route for Wenger's side to qualify for the next season's Champions League.

Wenger has thus urged his side to remain united to recover that confidence ahead of another critical week in which Arsenal will travel to Brighton before facing AC Milan in the first leg of the Europa League last-16 tie.

"It's always dangerous [the lack of confidence] but you earn it by putting the effort in and staying together in the moments where it's very difficult," the Arsenal boss added.

"You go up by stairs and come down by the lift. That's what confidence is. That's what you have to show, that you have the level to be at Arsenal Football Club."