But Arsenal defender Mertesacker offered no excuses for his team’s second successive European loss and admitted they must rediscover their fighting spirit to avoid another damaging defeat against in-form United.
“When you can, like (ex-United boss) Sir Alex Ferguson, stay at a club for such a long time, you have to be very good otherwise you shall not succeed”.
Since his return after the unsettling summer transfer saga, De Gea has been in fine form for United, producing a string of fine saves to re-emphasise his position as the best goalkeeper in the division. “We have just come from a big win at Leicester and we want to continue our run”.
The Gunners head into Sunday’s showdown knowing that a win would move them level on points with the Premier League leaders heading into the forthcoming worldwide break.
The extent to which all those mentioned are now satisfied is up for debate.
When asked how big a difference Cech’s signing can make for Arsenal, the Spaniard said: “I think he is a great ‘keeper, one of the best in the world“.
Liverpool’s draw at home to Sion leaves them behind the Swiss in Group B with just two points, although Spurs – one Premier League club to have shown commitment to the Europa League in recent years with a quarterfinal appearance in 2012-13 – are top of Group J.
“That is hard to answer because I have won a lot of titles”, said the Dutchman, a champion with the likes of Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“I always want more and I have set my aims always in advance”. That is my ambition.
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“In the last few weeks I don’t hear this anymore, they don’t complain about the style of play or anything and that is because we have improved”.
“Arsenal’s defence have more of a calmness about them when Mertesacker plays”, he added.
“The side that is hungrier is going to win this game on Sunday”.
However, Van Gaal is happy with his career choices, insisting that he is a different breed to those managers.
United swept to five wins in its six September fixtures in all competitions and came from behind to edge Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The young forward is one of the club’s highest rated starlets and Louis van Gaal recently rewarded the youngster with a new four-year deal.
“You come to the game, you judge the game and you assess if I am right or wrong”. He was not really injured – it was a minor injury of tiredness.
“He is 34, so it is logical he needs more time to recover”.
“He has also selected (United defender) Phil Jones, who still needs minutes, so I am happy he can do that with the England squad”.