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Per - We must be mentally prepared

Per Mertesacker's FA Cup semi-final goal

Per Mertesacker says Arsenal must use the experience of last season’s FA Cup semi-final to their advantage at Wembley on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s team won the competition in 2014 but were eight minutes away from elimination against Wigan Athletic in the last four.

Mertesacker scored the all-important equaliser in that game and says the team need to be switched on from the start against Reading at the weekend.

"It is the best competition I have ever played in because so many big teams struggle. But I don’t want to struggle"

“It is going to be their biggest game of the season so to mentally prepare that is going to be difficult, not just to match their physicality and mental strength but to do more, to be on the ball from the start,” Mertesacker said.

“[We need] to show them respect but no fear for the pressure. The winning streak helps us a bit but this competition is completely different.

“It is the best competition I have ever played in because so many big teams struggle. But I don’t want to struggle.

“I want to repeat the success. That is my real target so let’s make sure that we are on the same level and do more than our opponent.

“The mental side of that [Wigan] game was really tough and we need to repeat that to show that we’re good enough and mentally good enough to repeat that.

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"On the football side we’re good enough but sometimes you need to put in some different qualities nobody expects from you.

“We had some different games when you think of Manchester City away - nobody expected us to play like that, focusing on our own defence and then getting them on the break. That was something new for us as a team.

“We need a special performance on Saturday as well to release that pressure.”

 

 

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