Aaron Ramsdale believes Arsenal’s poor end to last season has lit a fire under the players for the current campaign – revealing they now have an “Eff it” approach if something goes wrong.
A 3-1 win over north London rivals Tottenham on Saturday ensured Arsenal remained at the top of the Premier League as goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka proved too much for 10-man Spurs.
Harry Kane had levelled from the penalty spot – his 14th goal in 18 north London derbies – but when Emerson Royal was sent off for a nasty challenge on Gabriel Martinelli, the game moved away from the visitors.
Both the performance and result were in stark contrast to the reverse fixture in May, which saw Tottenham win 3-0 and ultimately pip the Gunners to the final Champions League position.
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After that loss, Ramsdale had said emotions got the better of Arsenal, something the England goalkeeper feels has changed this season.
“The experiences at the end last season are adding to our team spirit and mentality,” he said.
“It’s not just the lads who have come in who have brought this winning mentality. We all have this fire burning inside because of what happened at the end of last season.
“We spoke about it before the game, to play the game and not the occasion and that’s what we did.
“The day I returned to pre-season, two weeks late through internationals, I came back and the standard of training had increased.
“From the start of the season we played really well in games and we’re winning, that helps.
“It is a never-say-die attitude, the way I would word it is an “Eff it mentality”, ‘who cares we have conceded? We have got 10 minutes, 70 minutes, we will play our way. We never run out of time’.
“That is the big thing for us and the manager, we don’t stop working.”
One of the players who has come into the side from last season is William Saliba – the France centre-back spent last year at Marseille but is now a firm fixture in Mikel Arteta’s side.
“He has fit in really well,” Ramsdale said of the 21-year-old.
“It is a credit to him that he has been put straight into the team, he is a bit of a Rolls-Royce with the way he moves and he has never seemed phased.
“He is still a young boy so still makes mistakes so at the minute it is either Ben (White), myself, Gabriel or Thomas Partey digging him out and he is digging other people out as well.
“That is the main thing at the minute, our mistakes aren’t leading to too many things and that is the sign of a team with good characters in and around that back five.”