Arsenal players need to take some responsibility for the club's woes as they have not repaid Arsene Wenger's trust, according to former captain Gilberto Silva.
Having signed a new two-year contract at the end of last season, Wenger has come under intense scrutiny this term amid another disappointing campaign.
Arsenal go into Sunday's home match against Stoke City in sixth, with the 13-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Tottenham offering little hope of Champions League qualification through the Premier League.
Wenger – whose side are through to the Europa League quarter-finals – continues to face regular calls to walk away from a significant proportion of the fan base, but Silva does not think the manager is necessarily the problem.
"I worked with Wenger for such a long time," Silva, who won the Premier League with the Gunners in 2004, told Sky Sports. "As I know him, he's a person who loves the game and wants to win things. He sacrifices himself for the players and for the club.
"At the moment things are hard, but he's trying the best he can to handle the pressure and get the best out of his players.
"All the time the pressure is on him, but there comes a time when you have to question what the players can bring back to him because he trusts them.
"It's about somebody standing up and holding the pressure for somebody who believes in them. All the questions in the media talk about whether it's time for Wenger to go or if he lost his appetite.
"It's not about this; it's about the players at the club supporting him as long as he stays in the club."