Arsenal interim manager Freddie Ljungberg has defended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to have a toilet break against Brighton and Hove Albion on Thursday night.
With Arsenal 2-1 down and time ticking away in the second half the Gunners forward was seen heading down the tunnel.
The 30-year-old returned minutes later, but some fans were annoyed as it left Arsenal with no striker on the pitch because Alexander Lacazette had been substituted in the 77th minute.
Ljungberg, however, revealed Aubameyang simply “had to go”.
”I actually didn’t even notice he went off, I just saw him come back on after he’d been off for a couple of minutes,” Ljungberg told the media after the game.
“When you need to go, you need to go, but if you feel bad, you feel bad, there’s nothing you can change.”
Arsenal have not won since October 24 and Ljungberg admits confidence is rock bottom after losing on Thursday night, as he looks to turn things around heading into the packed Christmas schedule.
“They look very short on confidence,” he added.
“In the first half they were scared to get the ball and a bit scored to move, they were just standing still.
“That’s something we need to talk about. They need to have a win, we need to dig out a win and get them some confidence.
“They can do it because they showed it in the beginning of the second half and they did it really well for 20 minutes.
“It’s hard to say that when you lose at home, but they were very good in that little spell.”
The defeat at the Emirates Stadium has dropped Arsenal to 10th place on the Premier League log, 10 points away from the top four.
They travel east of London to face West Ham United next Monday.
For Brighton, this was a first-ever victory away to Arsenal and a maiden win on the road against an established “top six” opponent.
It also meant boss Graham Potter was able to repeat his Europa League triumph over the same opposition at the Emirates with Swedish minnows Ostersunds in February last year.
“Thursday nights at Arsenal are great!” smiled Potter.
“Hopefully the Premier League will arrange more games on a Thursday.”
Brighton’s second away win of the season lifted them above Aston Villa, West Ham and Bournemouth into 13th.
Potter added: “We showed great quality and great courage, so overall I’m delighted with the players. It’s fantastic to get three points and play like we did.
“Given the quality up front they have, everything can change, but credit to the players, they managed the situation well, and there was a bit of quality from us as well.
“We’ve had a tough batch of games so it’s nice to come away from home, win, and play well. It gives us a bit more confidence on the path to going somewhere.”