Former Chelsea goalie Petr Cech believes Arsenal missed out on a top four finish simply because they don’t hate losing enough.
The veteran shot-stopper is set to play the last match of his career in tomorrow’s Europa League final against former team Chelsea.
The 37-year-old won 14 major titles during his time at Stamford Bridge and thought he would continue collecting medals when he moved to the Emirates. But he found a totally different mentality at the club and thinks the lack of pressure from within has cost them.
He explains: “At Chelsea, even when we drew at home against a big team, it felt like a funeral in the dressing-room. It was so bad. It felt impossible that we didn’t win.
“But then I came to Arsenal and as much as Arsene Wenger hated losing, he always stayed a gentleman whatever the result. If we won or lost, he just kind of carried on.
“And that was something I’d never experienced before.
“So as strange as it might sound, I think at Arsenalthere is not enough pressure.
“Every time Arsenal really needs to win, we generally win.
“In my first season at the club, we go to Athens in the last Champions League group game needing to win 2-0 and we win 3-0.
“The following season, when we needed to win our last six games to have a chance of getting into the top four, we win them all.
“This season we went to Napoli and everyone told us ‘oh you are rubbish away and they are brilliant at home’.
“But we won in Naples and how do you explain that? If you can’t perform under pressure, you lose that game.
“When the fire was right behind us and the pressure was pushing us, we generally got the result.
“But then this season we go to Everton last month knowing we go third if we win and stay fourth if we lose. So we lose.
“Two weeks later against Wolves it was literally the same situation. And we lost again.
“There was always a cushion and the idea that ‘OK, it’s not such a disaster, we still have another chance.’
“And this is where we drop the most points. As soon as we think it’s not such a disaster if we don’t win, we drop points.
“So this is the one thing about Arsenal that I think I would change.
“We need to create more pressure to give everybody something to think about.
“I think the team is on the right track with Unai Emery. He knows what he has in his team and he knows what he wants.