Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed that he is delighted with the team’s spirit and morale levels ahead of the new Premier League campaign after admitting that the pre-season tour of Asia helped the players grow together.
The 2013/2014 was Mertesacker’s first full pre-season with the club despite signing two years ago in 2011. The German international was signed on deadline day in 2011 which meant he missed out on having a pre-season and last year, he spent a lot of the summer recovering from the European Championships.
Giving an interview with the club’s official website, Mertesacker revealed that the long pre-season has helped the team grow together and the German international believes that is a positive as they prepare for yet another Premier League campaign.
“We’ve had a longer pre-season and more time to know each other better, to prepare ourselves in training,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player.
“I think we have a good team spirit and we’ve built it up, especially in Asia, where we were together for more than two weeks. If we stick together more in the first month, especially in the Champions League qualifier and the first games of the Premier League, we can continue our good run that we had [at the end] of last season.”
The German defender also revealed how happy he was to hear the side would play their second-leg in the Champions League qualifier at home.
“We hope that [playing] the first game away is a bit of an advantage for us,” he said. “We have to concentrate on that game.
“[Playing] away in Istanbul is always special, the fans are passionate and we have to cope with that and realise that we have a chance to qualify for the Champions League.
“We did a lot in the last season, especially in the last 10 games to get the chance to get [in] the qualifiers. We have to focus on that.”