Interview

Per - I have to prepare our players better

Last weekend’s defeat at Watford was a bitter one for everyone to take, especially Per Mertesacker.

 
Our club captain was making his first Premier League start in 532 days, and despite heading in the opening goal, he was not happy with how we responded to Troy Deeney’s equaliser at Vicarage Road.
 
“Even if you’re exhausted, even if it’s a game where you think you have to make every single step possible to avoid chances, you do it,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player. “They were coming for us and were having a real go at us.
 
“Then you need numbers, you need players in the box and players wanting to defend that goal. We lacked that, totally, especially on that second goal. I need to do a better job in preparing our players, especially mentally to go that extra step.

“That needs to be done beforehand. Afterwards is easy because anyone can judge us on that performance and can criticise. That’s fair play, but we as players and me as captain need to make sure we are aware of that before the game, not afterwards.
 
“When you watch the video, everyone understands. That’s easy, so we want to learn from that, especially the feeling of disappointment we had after the game. We thought we should have won the game but we didn’t.
 
“These moments need to stick in our heads until we enter the pitch for the next time. We should be very, very disappointed with what we produced in the second half and the way we reacted when they scored.”

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