Arsenal desperately need to improve their defending warns Per Mertesacker

Published 13/02/17 

Per Mertesacker has warned Arsenal “desperately” need to improve their defending to have a chance of knocking Bayern Munich out of the Champions League.

The Gunners face Carlo Ancelotti’s side on Wednesday seeking to end a run of six consecutive exits at the last 16 stage, which includes defeats to Bayern in 2014 and 2013, while they were also thrashed 5-1 at the Allianz Arena in last season’s group stage.

Arsenal head into the match having avoided a third successive Premier League defeat with a 2-0 win over Hull City. That result was secured with only their fifth clean sheet in 22 matches in all competitions and club captain Mertesacker admits they must show greater resilience to stay alive in Europe’s premier competition.

“I think defensive discipline is something we have to put back in our minds because it’s something we need desperately,” he said.

“If you want to be at the top, you need discipline. We need to focus on that kind of game where we feel good defensively first, and then from there spread out and find out offensive power.

“The encouraging thing is that we’ve shown that resolute defence at times this season. We have the potential so let’s utilise it. You can’t do what we did against Watford, where we gifted them two goals, or what we did against Chelsea, where we lacked that bit of intensity at times.

“But I’ve had a good feeling in training and I’ve sensed how this squad demands the best from one another.

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