Fresh from signing a new contract Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny has demanded his team-mates ramp up their performances, beginning with the Premier League game at struggling Swansea on Saturday.
Koscielny, who has committed himself to 2020 — which would mean the French defender has been at the Gunners for 10 years — says it is vital they rediscover their form having slipped to fifth in the table, eight points off leaders Chelsea.
“We will progress every year but we need to push more,” said Koscielny, 31.
“The team has stayed the same and we don’t have many players coming or going from the club so it’s important to keep our best players at the club.
“We want to win together so we will do everything we can to succeed.”
Koscielny, whose compatriots Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin also signed new contracts this week, said he was delighted to have agreed a fresh deal.
“I feel very happy to continue my adventure with this club. It’s been seven years and I have more (hopes) for the future with this team,” said Koscielny, who came from French football with Lorient in 2010.
“When you are a footballer it’s not just about football, it’s about your life. Arsenal are a big part of my life.
“My children were born in London, a big part of my life, and my life’s changed since they were born.”
Koscielny and Giroud, who also committed himself to 2020, are likely to start against second-from-bottom Swansea but Coquelin, who signed a four-year contract, is out with a hamstring injury.
Their agreeing to new contracts delighted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and he will hope it leads to stars Mesut Ozil — who should start against Swansea having been out sick — and Alexis Sanchez also doing the same.
“We are very pleased that three important members of our team have committed to us for the long term,” said Wenger.
“Francis has made tremendous technical strides over the past few years because he’s so focused every day.
“Olivier has big experience in the game now and has become a more and more complete player since joining us.
“Laurent is of course a key part of our squad and I believe one of the best defenders in the world today. So overall, this is great news for us.”
– ‘Winning football’ –
Paul Clement will take charge of Swansea for the first time in the league with his side just a point from safety.
The former Derby boss completed on Thursday his first piece of transfer business with the £4 million ($4.9 million, 4.6 million euros) signing of PSV Eindhoven winger Luciano Narsingh but a calf injury rules him out from making his debut.
Tom Carroll and Martin Olsson are other names that Clement is looking to bring in as Swansea battle to preserve their Premier League status.
“I am sure the fans will see some slight differences in the way we do things,” said Clement.
“Hopefully our fans will soon start to see some winning football.
“It’s not complicated stuff that we’ve been working on. I am talking about team organisation -– the basics of how we defend and attack.
“I think if the players execute what they have been doing in training and concentrate on the things I have talked to them about we will have a chance in any game.”