Djourou hopes to reward Gunners fans
Arsenal defender Johan Djourou admits last season was difficult for the team but hopes to repay the club's fans with improved performances next year. The 24-year-old, who featured in Switzerland's 2-2 draw with England yesterday, played a key role for the Gunners last season after sitting out the previous campaign with a serious knee injury.
While Djourou admitted it has been great to be playing football again over the past year, he has apologised to fans for their poor end to the season. "For the team, it was difficult because we were playing for so many trophies at the same time and we were so close to getting one," he said.
"Last season, I didn't play a game and to play so many games and have a good season, I was happy. Obviously, now we want to do better as a team and as individuals to get something. I think that the fans deserve and the manager deserves something. We need to get better, get stronger, and really prepare well for next season."
Arsene Wenger's side have been linked with a host of summer signings, including the likes of Scott Parker, Alex Chamberlain and Peter Odemwingie. Djourou says he is not sure how many of the mooted signings will come to fruition and how many changes there will be.
"I don't know - that's for the manager to answer," he said, when asked about the summer plans. "I think competition is always good. That pushes you in your position. When you want to make a team better, you have to have a good squad. I think that we had a good squad but if players with experience or different players can bring quality, they're welcome."
Djourou performed admirably at centre-back yesterday to help Switzerland secure a draw against a subdued England at Wembley. Goals from Frank Lampard and Ashley Young helped England rescue a point for Fabio Capello's side, who had trailed 2-0 after two Tranquillo Barnetta free-kicks.
"We weren't overconfident because we knew that the English have great qualities and when you play such a great team, you know that, 2-0 up, it's not finished," he said. "They showed that in the second half and they came at us really well. I think we can be proud of ourselves.
"We came here to Wembley and played and I think that not many teams have done that before. We gave them a lot of trouble by playing the ball, and that's something new for us because, before, we were struggling to make a few passes. We made a few mistakes on the goals that we lost, cheap goals, but that's football and you have to take those risks to get better."
Despite an impressive display overall, Djourou was at fault for England's first goal after scything down Gunners team-mate Jack Wilshere to give away a penalty. And the defender admits he expects to be at the butt of a few jokes when Wenger's side return for pre-season.
"Jack will give me stick because of the penalty, of course," he added. "I had to make the tackle because I thought I could get the ball, but he played well and he got the penalty. Overall, I think Switzerland did well and ultimately we could've won the game. But it was just a bit of a pity at the end."