An obsession with playing style cost Arsenal a shot at winning the Premier League title near the end of Arsene Wenger’s time in north London, according to goalkeeper Petr Cech.
“What we lacked in the past – I would say the “Arsenal way” was more important than getting the points sometimes and this is not how you win the league,” Cech said, according to David Hytner of the Guardian. “Sometimes you need to make sure you win an ugly game, when you are not playing completely well but you just dig deep, close the back door, and win 1-0 no matter how.”
After winning the league title on four occasions with Chelsea, Cech played three seasons under Wenger until the manager ended his 22-year association with the Gunners in May.
The goalkeeper said Wenger’s successor, Unai Emery, has implemented a different mentality that could help Arsenal overcome their Premier League drought, and that Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton was an example of an “ugly” win that could result in titles.
The 36-year-old Cech, who produced his best performance of the season against Everton, also credited Emery with putting a greater focus on preparing players for upcoming matches after Wenger’s more relaxed attitude in training.
But Cech added that he believes Arsenal’s winning mentality has been damaged in the 14 years since the team last claimed the Premier League.
“When a club win titles, it means you have a team with the know-how to finish it off and you can see it in any sport,” Cech said. “I take Tiger Woods. It’s been some years since he won a major tournament and the longer it goes on, the harder it becomes.
“This club hasn’t won the league for over 10 years so obviously you need to get back to knowing how to do it. We started with the new manager from scratch, basically, and we try to get this mentality of winning every game, progressing every game, working every day and, hopefully, we can build this up and win the title sooner rather than later.”