Bacary Sagna admits Arsenal are 'too nice'

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The Independent Online

Bacary Sagna maintains Arsenal must find a killer instinct if they are to ever become Barclays Premier League champions again.

The Gunners are set for a sixth season without a trophy after seeing their slim title hopes extinguished in brutal fashion with a 3-1 defeat at Stoke yesterday.

Arsenal's defensive frailties were exposed again at the Britannia Stadium, most notably when an unmarked Kenwyne Jones bundled home Stoke's opener and, again, for the third goal when an awful clearance from Johan Djourou fell to Jon Walters to stab home.

In between, former Gunner Jermaine Pennant had made it 2-0 to Stoke before Robin van Persie netted his 20th goal of the season to give the visitors brief hope.

Full-back Sagna accepts the north London side cannot continue to make such fundamental defensive errors if they are to last the distance in 2011/2012.

"We are too nice. We have to fight a bit more. We have to push them as much as they push us and be a bit more killer," Sagna told Arsenal TV Online.

"We are not defending as well as we have to and against big players like Stoke have, it is very difficult.

"We have to put in performances week after week and fight even more.

"We didn't give enough. We didn't play as we can and that is what happens when you don't give the maximum - you get beaten everywhere."

Arsenal went into the game on the back of a battling 1-0 win over leaders Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium, which looked to have blown the title race wide open before Chelsea were despatched 2-1 at Old Trafford yesterday as Sir Alex Ferguson's men closed in on an historic 19th English championship.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been urged to strengthen his squad with some experienced additions over the summer.

Sagna, however, insists the current players have what it takes to deliver.

"It can be put right on the training ground because it is in our mind," the 28-year-old France international said.

"We know we are very good players, but sometimes we have to fight a bit more."

Arsenal currently lead Manchester City by five points in the race for automatic Champions League qualification, but the FA Cup finalists could reduce that down to just two if they beat Tottenham at Eastlands tomorrow night.

Despite failing to last the distance in the title race, losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham and also suffering early exits from the Champions League to Barcelona and FA Cup at Manchester United, Wenger maintains the campaign has not been a complete failure.

"Many would like to be in the Champions League but it is not enough, certainly, but the season has not been for nothing," he said.

"It could have been a lot more, but you can see it is the toughest league in the world and we were very close, but we have to add what we miss."

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