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Arsenal’s new signing Sokratis Papastathopoulos says new head coach Unai Emery has the squad focused on improving their poor defensive record from last season.
Arsenal conceded 51 goals in the Premier League last term – 24 more than champions Manchester City – as they finished sixth and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the second consecutive season.
Sokratis, who joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund for an undisclosed fee this summer, knows he was signed to improve the club’s fragile defence and insists he is ready to make a difference under Emery’s management.
The 30-year-old said: “I am here to show I am first a defender and after that comes everything else. Of course, you have to know how to play with the ball, in the last five or six years football has changed a lot.
“A lot of coaches and a lot of teams now look at only how to play, not how to defend.
“But with the new coach we work also on the situations when we don’t have the ball and this is very important.
“On the first day, the coach worked on this. With him, all the players work on tactics, we look a lot at videos, what was wrong, what we have to do better.
“I think and hope this year things at the back will be much better.”
Sokratis named former Milan trio Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva as influences on his career having spent two years at the San Siro between 2010 and 2012.