Arsene Wenger appears to have made a u-turn on previous claims that uncertainty over his future at Arsenal is not affecting his players’ performances.
The Frenchman, who celebrated his 20th year in charge of the London club at the start of the season, has kept the club's board, fans and players in the dark about his future at the club, refusing to comment on whether he will sign the contract extension that he has reportedly been offered.
Speaking ahead of his side's Premier League clash against Middlesbrough, Wenger admitted that there could well be a link between his side's disappointing run of results and his reluctance to speak openly about his thoughts on his future.
"I honestly don't know but I hope not," he said when asked by a reporter about this possible correlation.
"When I speak about mental test it is to perform, no matter what the circumstances are around you. Is that an influence? I'd say I hope not.
"But what is for sure is that in the last three months there has been no consistency, especially away from home. At home we have not been disastrous in the quality of performance."
The Gunners have suffered a number of humiliating defeats in recent months – seven in 12 matches in all competitions – that have seen them drop out of contention for a top-four finish and even place their current sixth position under threat.
Asked specifically about how the lack of clarity could be affecting his star playmaker Mesut Ozil, who admitted last week that his future at Arsenal is tied to that of his boss, Wenger again expressed more uncertainty.
"I don't know," he said. "It can sometimes… He may be coming to the end of his contract but you perform until the last day of that contract. That is how I see it.
"The impact of [my future] I don't know. We have to focus on what is important and that is what happens on the pitch. Top-level sportsmen have to be like that."