Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Monreal: Gunners ignoring critics

Nacho Monreal has impressed since joining Arsenal in January

Defender Nacho Monreal has urged Arsenal not to waste energy by taking notice of any critics and instead channel all their attention into finishing in the top four of the Barclays Premier League.

The Gunners will resume domestic action with a home match against relegation-battlers Reading, an encounter they must win to keep pressure on both Chelsea and Tottenham in the race for Champions League qualification.

With just one defeat in the last seven league games, coming at White Hart Lane, Arsene Wenger's men find themselves four points behind arch-rivals Spurs, but crucially with a match in hand. In an interview with the April edition of the official Arsenal magazine, Monreal said: "We still have matches left to fix the situation and to try to meet our objectives."

He added: "It is logical that people talk because the situation has not been as it should be, but the players and club in general have to ensure that doesn't affect us.

"We have to use our energy for the matches. If you are thinking of what people are saying, you are wasting that energy. You have to concentrate on the next match.

"Every fixture now is a final we have to win. That has to be our mentality. I am sure we will put it right."

Monreal, 27, has settled quickly since his January deadline day signing from Malaga, scoring his first Arsenal goal in the 2-0 win at Swansea before the international break and then impressing in Tuesday night's World Cup qualifying win for Spain over France in Paris when deputising at full-back for the injured Jordi Alba.

Gunners midfielder Santi Cazorla praised the speed at which his former Malaga team-mate has taken to the hustle-and-bustle of the English top flight.

"Nacho is a footballer I really enjoy watching and playing with. He has adapted to the Premier League very well. What's more, our style of play suits him because he is someone with a lot of movement," Spain international Cazorla told Arsenal Player.

"He is a very good signing, and is proving it. I think Arsenal have really got it right with the transfer. I am very happy because he is a great mate."

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