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Season a “big disappointment” if Arsenal win FA Cup but miss top four, admits Cech

Date Posted,April 23, 2017

Petr Cech admits Arsenal ’s season will be a “big ­disappointment” if they win the FA Cup but miss out on Champions League qualification.

And while he is relishing the “special” ­prospect of facing his ­former club Chelsea in next month’s final, he insists the Gunners must now prioritise finishing in the top four.

Keeper Cech was ­brutally honest in his assessment of where the campaign has gone wrong, despite Sunday’s semi-final win over Manchester City, and warns that the team must show their strong mentality now.

He rejected the notion that ­their recent poor league form was down to a lack of strong personalities on the pitch.

“It’s easy to hide behind ­saying we lack leaders and other teams have them,” said Cech. “You need to see what is happening behind the scenes, how well the team works and how we operate.

Surprise goal-scorer Nacho Monreal leads the post-match celebrations (Photo: Getty)
A roar of delight and double fist-pump from Wenger as Arsenal come from 1-0 down to reach the final (Photo: Reuters)

“Obviously you have some ­periods of games where you ­prepare and do the right things then the game starts and it all goes completely wrong.

“We had a difficult period where we lost games we shouldn’t have lost and obviously then you’re in a situation where you’re under pressure and need to find a way out. Sometimes you find a way out quickly, sometimes it takes a bit of time and there is damage. And I think this season we had that spell. When you lose three out of four you put yourself in a difficult position.

“I think at the start of the season we overcame falling behind in games. Sometimes you find the answer to the difficulties you face, sometimes you don’t.

Sunday’s FA Cup joy came after a run of five defeats in eight Premier League games… (Photo: PA Wire)
…that had fed-up Gunners fans calling once again for the manager to go (Photo: Rex Features)

“Against Manchester City what was most important was the whole discipline of the team and the effort. Everyone stuck to the plan and the individual ­performances were brilliant.

“It was very difficult against a very difficult opponent and at times they’ve been brilliant, even in this game ­although they lost. It was very difficult but we managed to find the answers.

“You felt we had the belief. We need to carry that on.”

Arsenal are seventh, seven points behind fourth-placed City, but have three games in hand over some of their rivals for a top-four finish.

Cech added: “If we don’t quality for the Champions League it will obviously be a big disappointment.

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