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Arsenal

Willian opens up on ‘very difficult’ season at Arsenal and responds to criticism


Willian insists criticism is part of football as he battles to make a success of his debut season at Arsenal.

The Brazilian made the move across London in the summer having left Chelsea on a free, but has rejected claims he wasn’t interested in performing for the Gunners.

Willian went months without registering a goal or an assist which saw pressure mount.

His age coupled with his hefty three-year deal has also attracted its fair share of criticism, but the winger believes his recent performances are reason to be optimistic.

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He said: “For me it’s part of football, it’s normal. When you play well, people will say you are amazing, the best – you’re the best player in the world! [Willian chuckles].

Willian struggled to make an impact following his summer arrival
Willian struggled to make an impact following his summer arrival

“And when you don’t play well, you are the worst player in the world! This is football. I’ve come into a new philosophy, a new club and I think it has taken time [for me] to adapt.

“It wasn’t because I don’t want to play, I don’t want to be good for Arsenal as some people have said.

“I always want to play well, I always want to win, if it’s possible to score to do assists for my team-mates but sometimes you have difficult moments and I’ve been in that difficult moment.

“But in the last few games that I’ve played I think it’s been really different. I have been playing very well, trying to help my team-mates, the team and I hope I can continue like that.”

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The winger has been a more consistent performer as of late
The winger has been a more consistent performer as of late

Willian maintains proving the doubters wrong does not serve as motivation.

Instead his internal desires to achieve success continue to drive him on as he targets silverware in north London.

“No I don’t think that (proving people wrong). In football until you are playing you always have to prove yourself, but personally I don’t have to prove anything to anyone about my career and what I’ve won.

“I just need to prove it for myself and that’s what I want to do.

“I need to prove that for people that like me, my family as well and for people that support me in the difficult moments.

“Of course I want to succeed here and win good things for this club because it’s a great club.”

Watch the UEFA Europa League exclusively live on BT Sport, with coverage of Arsenal v Slavia Prague from 7.15pm this evening on BT Sport 1. For more info go to bt.com/sport

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