By Rob Kelly

Steve Bould has got the Arsenal squad excited about their defensive work in training, according to Kieran Gibbs.

The former Arsenal centre back took over as Arsène Wenger’s assistant manager this summer following the retirement of the long-serving Pat Rice.

Bould has made an immediate impression on his new charges, especially Gibbs, who he worked with in his previous role as manager of the under-18s.

“Steve has obviously brought a defensive emphasis to the team, because he was a defender too, and he’s bringing all his experience and knowledge of the game to us,” Gibbs told the Official Matchday Programme.

“He’s doing a really good job. He’s not completely new to us, though - I had him as my manager for two years when I was in the youth team, and a few of the other players have worked under him before too. We’re all used to seeing him around the training ground.

“He makes you want to play for him and everyone is really excited with the work we are doing in training, especially us defenders.”

Arsenal conceded 49 goals in the Premier League last season, and Gibbs acknowledges that must be reduced if they are to compete for the title.

“We conceded a few too many goals last year, so we obviously want to stop that,” he said. “I think most of the goals we conceded last year came from counter-attacking, so we’ll need to improve on that.

“That’s the sort of thing we have been working on, and everyone knows what we want to do in the team now, and how we can rectify the problems.

“We are looking at all areas to improve on really. So that could mean collective defending for example, but there are lots of elements we feel we need to work on.

“We have been analysing and discussing that since the start of pre-season, and practising in training. The new players in particular have been learning quickly about how we want to play this season.”

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17 Aug 2012