Interview

‘To come out of it as a team is a massive thing’

Shkodran Mustafi will be the first to admit that this season has not gone to plan.

When a difficult spell left us out of the Emirates FA Cup and 13 points adrift of the top four in the Premier League, Per Mertesacker held a team meeting and called for an immediate response.
 
The reaction has been positive. After returning to winning ways in the league against Watford we booked our place in the Europa League quarter-final, and Mustafi says we can take positives from our recent upturn in form.
 
“To be honest, this season has been more disappointing for us because we had bigger targets,” he told Arsenal Player. “One really big positive thing is that to be able to recover from such a period when everything goes bad and you’re not in form, to be close together and come out of it as a team is a really big, massive thing.
 
“I’ve been playing in a lot of teams across Europe and I’ve been playing in teams where we have been doing well, I’ve been playing in teams where we’ve been struggling, and it’s not easy to come out especially when you’re a big team.

“You find yourself fighting in every game against every opponent. I think you have to give credit to the team because we managed to come together and go back to the basics. Everyone was fighting for each other to try to get back on a winning streak.

“Everyone knew it was a difficult period. The meeting was about trying to listen to different opinions, different ideas and different feelings, and I think we found a way to try to change a bit.
 
“It’s not that easy because one meeting is not going to change a lot, especially not during the season when you’re playing every three days, but it was important to speak our opinions out loud. Overall it was about giving 110 per cent to try to get out of it, and I think we managed it well.”