Mertesacker: Arsenal now ‘much more resistant’

Ian Watson

Per Mertesacker says he ‘takes care of the team’ as Arsenal vice-captain, but he believes the squad is “much more resistant” than in the past.

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League, ahead of Leicester City on goal difference, after back-to-back draws at Liverpool and Stoke City last week.

Mertesacker believes the Gunners have an added mental strength this season.

Discussing his role as vice-captain, he told Arsenal magazine: “When everything goes well, it’s easy for every player. You have a certain rhythm and momentum. You recover quicker, you play better, the confidence is sky high.

“In terms of when you’re not so successful, when you go through difficult periods, I try to bring in my experience, speak a lot, train well and help out in certain situations.

“You want to keep the confidence at a certain level. When it’s not going well, you have to keep your focus. You have to make sure that no one is drifting away from the group and thinking too much about themselves.

“That’s what I mean when I talk about taking care of the team. In those difficult situations, you have to be vocal and on the ball to make sure that everyone is training well and performing well.

“In general though, I’d say we are much more resistant than we were. Your team-mates talk a lot about you being a leader in the dressing room.”

Mertesacker also hailed the role Petr Cech has played in the dressing room, adding: “[He has brought] huge experience. He has won a lot of titles, including the Premier League. He knows how to deal with situations and how to stay consistent. He knows how to win things and, to get information, advice and opinions from him makes us stronger.

“I realise that this is very important for a squad that is on the one hand young and talented and on the other hand has experienced players who still want to learn a lot about the game. Petr is vocal. He wants to speak, he wants to share that information and what a win-win situation that will be for us over the next few years.”