Arsenal star Johan Djourou may be in the middle of the off-season break, but the centre back is already focusing on another Champions League berth for the Gunners.
Djourou says that Arsenal are focusing on the positives of the season to raise them higher in European football, with the side’s victory over Barcelona a big highlight of the season.
“I know it has been said before, but we must turn the negatives into positives for next season,” Djourou told the Islington Gazette.
“Of course it was a disappointing season, it was difficult to take after we were playing for so many trophies at the same time, so it’s always hard to take when you come out empty-handed.
“But I don’t think we need to envy anyone, we showed against Barcelona at home and away that we can be a contender. The defence is not an issue, of course you’re always going to come back to the defence when you lose a game.”
Djourou says focusing on the first rounds of the Champions League next season, where Arsenal can face a host of five winners from the non-champion section of the third qualifying round, will keep the
Arsenal squad focused on winning the ultimate European prize and breaking their trophy drought.
“The start of next season is important, [but] it is nothing new for us. But we’re a big club and we know we have to be in the Champions League,” Djourou said.
“We’ve been in this situation a couple of years ago when we had to play Celtic. You just have to be ready.
“Obviously we’re disappointed because we were so close to being top and we finished fourth, but that’s life, we cannot be down, we have to keep going.”
Djourou claimed his place on the first team last season, but the Switzerland international won’t be resting on his laurels just yet.
“I’ve been here a long time, I want to keep my place and become a better player. When you play in the top flight each player has to push himself and battle for his place, and I am no different.
“I know I can improve and that I have a lot in me, so now I have to improve in time for pre-season and be ready for the team.
“I hope it’s the case that other players look to me because I have experience, and that the manager continues to have confidence in me. Last season, I had a little shoulder injury at the end, but I think overall it was very good for me.”
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