Arsenal lack leaders required to win title, says former hero

Date published: Tuesday 5th April 2016 5:15

Arsenal: Can they make up ground on Leicester City?

Ian Wright says Arsenal lack the mental strength to win the Premier League title – and has urged Arsene Wenger to sign more leaders.

Trailing league leaders Leicester City by 11 points, albeit with a game in hand, Arsenal are set to end the season without a trophy, having endured a terrible March which saw the club also knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup.

Former Gunners striker Wright was part of the side which overturned a 12-point deficit to pip Manchester United to the title in 1998.

However the 52-year-old, Arsenal’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, doubts whether the current crop of players can repeat such a feat.

“I remember with three or four months of the season to go, Tony Adams calling a meeting and telling us that he needs four months of pure, 100 percent dedication from all of us,” Wright told ESPN.

“That means no going out, no drinking, no nothing. Just pure footballing. And we did it. The boys ended up with [10 wins] on the spin, and we won the league.

“Whether or not the players in this dressing room have got that mental strength, I don’t think they’ve shown that this season.

“There are games that they should have won. And as we’ve seen with Leicester, 1-0 is good enough. And there are games where if they could have done that on a few occasions, they’d be a lot closer.”

In recent months fans have become increasingly vocal in their discontent at both the players and manager.

Last month, Wenger labelled the criticism “not welcome”, and suggested it has affected the players on the pitch.

However, Wright insists the fans’ frustrations are valid, and believes the only way Wenger can silence his critics is by signing a number of new players.

“The fans have got every right to show their discontent because with the team we have and the quality we have, we should be doing better,” he added.

“But at this stage, when you’re in the title push, you need the fans and everything they bring. But at some stage you have to give them something back.

“They need to buy a couple of players. We’re not talking about just going out to spend the most money you can. They need to buy some players who are going to bring the right mentality into a dressing room that needs a little bit of leadership. That’s what I think is needed right now.

“In each department we need a really experienced player with a different kind of mentality than the players we’ve got right now. Because I’m not sure how much it hurts when they lose. And for me, if they don’t win the league this season and I was in that dressing room, the way I played, I would be very disappointed.

“I wouldn’t have a very good summer, because I would feel that it would have been an opportunity to do something which was missed.

“You don’t find a Tony Adams every day, or a Patrick Vieira or Dennis Bergkamp. I could go on forever about the players I played with. But you’ve got to find players who have an attitude of winning and who know what winning feels like and who want that continuously.”

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