Bernd Leno admits Arsenal must become tougher on the pitch and believes the club must consider signing a “proper ankle biter” in order to get them back to winning ways.
The Gunners are currently ninth in the table and look set to finish outside the top-six in the Premier League for a second successive season.
Their hopes of securing European football for the 2021/22 campaign hinge largely on their progress in the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal on Thursday.
The north London outfit have been targeted by pundits such as Sky Sports’ Gary Neville for being "too soft" in their mentality on the pitch.
And Leno, who has recently come under-fire for some below-par performances, agrees that Mikel Arteta’s side need to adopt a tougher approach if they are to win more games.
“We have to be a nastier team,” the goalkeeper told SportBild.
“We all get on well, but we are often too nice on the pitch.
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The German has identified the squad’s need for a tough-tackling player, despite shelling out £45 million to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid last summer.
“Perhaps we are missing a proper ankle biter, someone who can take out opponents in games,” he added.
The 29-year-old was also keen to highlight Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, who went an entire league season unbeaten under Arsene Wenger to win the title in 2003-04, as a source of inspiration.
“They were a team with lots of warriors, supposedly they would fight against each other every week in training,” Leno said.
“A team needs something like that. We have to defend and fight for ourselves, we miss that. That is what separates the top teams.
“We are too nice. We have to get out of our comfort zone. It’s not about the 11 of us being friends, but that we are successful.”
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