Hector Bellerin has heard thousands of team talks over the years, but there is one which will always stick in his memory.
The Spain defender was one of 18 first-team players getting ready for kick-off in our Wembley dressing room ahead of May’s Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Antonio Conte’s side had just been crowned Premier League champions, although the Blues were being heavily tipped for the double, Arsène Wenger’s rallying team talk gave Bellerin and his team-mates the confidence they needed to win the trophy for a record 13th time.
“We’ve had loads of team talks,” the 22-year-old told Arsenal Player. “I can’t remember all of them but I remember more the positive talks and the talks that can change a game at half-time. That stays with you more than being shouted at.
“Being shouted at will probably get a reaction out of you in the short term, but the [inspirational talks] you have even before games, important games and finals, that’s what sticks with you, but the most important ones are the ones that the players express their feelings in. That’s something that should always stay in the dressing room.
“The FA Cup final team talk was a very meaningful and emotional speech. You know how much it means to the boss. There’s a lot of criticism on him and in finals like Chelsea, the year they had won the league, everyone was on their side.
“The boss was just getting into our head that we could do it, have the potential and that we are a great team and if we play our football it could be ours and that’s the way it was and I think that emotion and that meaning in those words really stuck in our heads.”
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