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Olivier Giroud: “Maybe I deserved that nickname (lamp post)”

In an extensive, exclusive interview with BeIN Sports, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud talked about his situation at the club, critics, Benzema, PSG and more.

On PSG’s start to the 2015/2016 season…

It is an impressive team, with a big capacity, with great stars, we know their squad. It is true that they want to go far in this Champions League because it is the title that they are missing in their honours. It would be nice to play Paris, of course first we have to get past the group stage and to play again against our friends at Bayern. I have been here for four years now and this is the third time. Then in the knock-out rounds we will see…

On Arsenal’s Champions League group…

Bayern is the big team, the favourite. I think we will have our say, we will have more experience. It is true that Dynamo Zagreb…eh…eh…what’s the fourth team?

Olympiakos…

Yes Olympiakos, sorry. I had a brain freeze there, I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. It will be difficult trips, we know of the heated atmosphere in Greece, those are not games that are won beforehand. Champions League matches are top level matches and even the first game against Dynamo Zagreb is not won. It will be a group where we will have to work hard as soon as possible and why not try and finish first in order to avoid a big team in the knockout rounds.

That will depend on the two matches against Bayern, if we do the job against Olympiakos and Dynamo Zagreb.

On how he feels…

Listen, I’m fine. I think I dealt with pre-season quite well, we worked a lot. We qualified directly for the Champions League last season by finishing 3rd so there was no qualification round for us this time around. No physical problems, now maybe like the team, on my current form, I would say that it can be perfected, that I am currently honing in. Because, like the team, I can do much better, having said that, we have already 7 points, even with that poor performance against West Ham, it is a mixed start to the season, even if we are still there or thereabouts, despite everything.

On pre-season…

This time, the pre-season tour was shorter than usual. It was a week in Singapore, not too taxing, from the climate point of view, no long journeys, we played well. We won the Asia Cup, where Stoke City and Everton were competing and a Singapore XI, so it was a good tournament for us to getting going again. After that, we won the Emirates Cup, which also had good teams in it. They are friendly matches but they are good for confidence. Then we won the Community Shield against Chelsea, which was a good performance.

We gained maximum confidence from it. It is true that the league matches have hit us over the head a bit because, I don’t know if we thought ourselves to be better than we are but in any case, they have made us think, and we have to learn from these two little errors that we made during that match (against West Ham).

Apart from that game there was the little hiccup against Liverpool where we could have won but we could have lost that match, so I think I went a bit over the question about pre-season. So I will stop there.

On the squad…

The aim is clear and has been announced. It is to win another title this year, after the FA Cup we want to be part of the title race. I would say that with good consistency throughout the season, we know that the Premier League is a marathon not a sprint, so we will need to be very consistent throughout the season. The truth is in England the TV rights are enormous and clubs here have much bigger resources than in the rest of Europe, so they can buy players for 20, 30, 40 million for “smaller” clubs outside of the Big Four, so that is why every weekend the matches are very contested and that anyone could beat any big side.

We saw that this weekend and we saw that Petr Cech’s experience can bring us a lot, his charisma, his talent, because he had a fantastic match against Liverpool at home and of course we will need him for the Champions League. Even if David Ospina, who is a good friend of mine, had an excellent last season, we cannot say he did much wrong, but that is competition and it is good to have two great goalkeepers.

On criticism…

Maybe that nickname (lamp post) I deserved after the game against Monaco, but I didn’t play my game. It makes me smile more than anything else because I know when I am good or not. There you are going back several months, but I understand that you want to talk about the subject. It is true that Titi said certain things in his new role as a pundit, he was quite harsh even if we can understand what he was saying. I would have preferred that he said these things face to face, but I am not going to go back into it.

It is finished, all of that is finished. I haven’t lost any confidence, I bounced back really well after that match. I think it shows that I have good mental strength, now I think that if we are going to do something great this season we will do it together. And I think that the boss knows that we have a very competitive team with lots of quality. Now, I hope we won’t be hurt by injuries with Danny hurting his knee and Jack his ankle, but for me, if you ask me the question, those are things that, those little attacks, are part of the job, you have to deal with it.

You have to back yourself to come back and navigate around them. There will always be critics, the important thing is to remain concentrated on the pitch.

On training after his injury…

I worked a lot in the gym in order to become strong again and to come back as quickly as possible but in terms of food, I think I have always more or less enjoyed certain things, but I am obviously aware of that and I am rectifying it.

On Olivier Giroud’s transfer window…

Yes, I would have been surprised if you had read a lot of things about my possibly leaving the club, because that was never on the table. Now, I am very good here, I say it, I repeat it. It is true that every year here there is speculation about a new striker signing.

There were seasons when we signed Sanchez and Welbeck, others when we were talking about Suarez. It is obvious that in a club, a team, where a lot is expected, we need several good attackers and I understand that the fans want that we spend more money.

Aside from that, it is not up to me to answer this question, the coach knows very well what he is doing, and sometimes you should not buy just to buy, and sometimes there are not players out there that you need, who are available. We have a very good squad, with quality, and I am sure that with this squad we can go very far. Aside from that, it would have been good if Karim had signed too eh?

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