Sagna: 'We can handle the title pressure'
Published 23:00 04/03/10 By Darren Lewis
Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has defied the critics to insist the Gunners will be able to handle squeaky bum time in the title race.
Arsene Wenger's men are just three points off leaders Chelsea with ten games to go.
Arsenal also have arguably the most comfortable run-in of the three main title contenders.
But the Gunners are still third in the title betting behind the Blues and Manchester United because of their perceived lack of experience.
Sagna hit back, however, saying: "We have grown up and are wiser than last year and two years ago. We have learned a lot and now I think we can deal with the pressure.
"Having experienced players like Sol Campbell and William Gallas is massive because they know what it means and they know how they felt at the moment when they won.
"They can help us to imagine what we can do and what we can achieve all together. It is very important for them to talk a lot to the team and make us calm."
Arsenal have put together decisive League runs when it has mattered before - most recently during their unbeaten season of 2003-04, and in the final season ten games of their title winning campaign two seasons earlier.
Sagna's defensive team-mate Gael Clichy believes ending the club's trophy drought this season could lead to an avalanche of silverware over the coming seasons.
He said: "Everyone wants to be the champion and it’s always difficult to be the champion.
"But to be the team that hasn’t won anything for several years, it’s even harder because you feel the pressure of winning something.
"It’s a good pressure because you want to do well for the fans and for yourself and win a trophy.
"We’ve played good football for five years and we know that we are a real side, but we know as well that the fans, the people in football, like to see a team winning things. So that’s what we want to do.
"When you’re getting so close to winning something and you don’t win it – one year, two years – of course you’re getting a bit nervous and you want to win this first trophy and you can open the door and go on."
Clichy was the youngest player in Arsenal's 'Invincibles' squad of
2003-04. The flying Frenchman admits the title successes of Manchester United and Chelsea since then have made him even more hungry to end bring the Premier League trophy back to north London.
He added: "It’s not jealousy because if they win it, they deserve it because they’ve been better than you.
"You cannot be jealous but I had the chance to win the Premier League and I know the feeling of having this cup in your hand."