By TOM GOODENOUGH
He had a public meltdown ahead of the midweek clash against Bayern Munich.
But the Arsenal boss admits it is vital he keeps it together now.
The Champions League defeat together with FA Cup embarrassment within the space of four days has rocked his players.
But falling apart at this stage of the season would be a disaster for the Gunners.
There is Champions League qualification at stake and victory against Aston Villa today would put the Gunners within a point of the top four.
Wenger said: “I am in a strong mood because if I am not I don’t see how my team can be.
“I have enough experience to know you have to deal with all kinds of situations and this is one that is difficult.
“But it’s also a good opportunity to show that we have strength.
“We are fighting for a Champions League place, not against relegation and we have to take that in a positive way if we are to stay at the top.
“What we need is to be united and strong and not to be destabilised by people who have strong opinions after one game.
“What is important is the club always go with the guidelines we have and do not change direction every time we lose a big game.”
Wenger’s message to his beleaguered squad ahead of today’s crunch game was simple: “To show our strengths and look at what is in front of us.
“We lack a little bit of belief and confidence.
“This is a very important game because we play at home and we want to come back in a strong position in the Premier League.
“Apart from Manchester United, it’s very open for all the other positions.
“We’ve had good form recently in the league and we have to focus on continuing to get points.”
Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for 15 consecutive seasons — and Wenger says it is vital that run continues.
He said: “Financially we can live with not qualifying but on a sporting front, no.
“And the sporting front is the priority.”
So finishing in the top four is arguably more important than winning a cup, according to Wenger.
He said: “The real quality of the team is judged on where you are on a consistent level in the championship and where you are in the Champions League.
“We are a bit short and we have to reduce that gap.”