AARON RAMSDALE revealed Arsenal’s relentless title fight was fueled by bitter rivals Spurs.
The England goalkeeper is still haunted by last season’s dramatic defeat when the Gunners saw Tottenham lose fourth place on the final day of the game.
And he readily admits that missing out on Champions League qualification has been a key motivation behind his team’s attempt to win their first Premier League title since 2004.
Wednesday’s 4-0 home win over the ailing Everton put Arsenal five points clear of closest rivals Manchester City in the title race.
But Ramsdale are equally pleased with the fact they are now 15 points ahead of their fading north London neighbors.
He said: “The scars from last year are obviously what drives us on.
“Nobody here has forgotten what happened, especially since we lost to the others much further down the road, which made it even worse for our fans.
“That hurt us a lot and was a huge motivation for us at the beginning of the season.
“We all thought back to our mistakes at the end of last season, the times we fell below our level and didn’t do what he had been practicing all year.
“It was a big lesson for us, but I also found out the hard way that you can’t go too low or too high.
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“If you lose a football game, it can’t rule your whole life.
“If I had let that happen after every disappointment, I would have sat in my house and not seen the outside world for a long part of my short career.
“Of course I want to win every game, but that’s not the be-all and end-all at the moment.
“Obviously that will change when we get to the last four or five games of the season and we’re still in that position.
“But right now I’m just playing with a group of my friends and enjoying it.”
Ramsdale, 24, knows all about handling pressure, having suffered back-to-back relegations with Bournemouth and Sheffield United ahead of his £30million move to the Emirates in 2021.
So it’s no wonder he’s enjoying his current position at the top of the table.
Like most of his Gunners teammates, Ramsdale never had to grapple with the expectations of fighting for a championship title.
So we treat it like we’re tenth or twelfth in the table and it’s really fun
And he reckons that could work in their favor as they enter the business end of the season. He added: “As many of us have never been in this situation, we don’t really know how to deal with it.
“So we treat it like we’re tenth or twelfth in the table and it’s really fun.
“We just go out to play with our buddies and try to win as many games as we can.
“And it’s definitely a much nicer pressure than when you’re at the other end of the Premier League.
“It’s honestly so much easier to play when things are going well and we’re all enjoying it.”
Ramsdale’s form brings no joy to anyone more than his English sidekick Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s 11-goal top scorer whose goal put the Gunners on course to victory over Everton.
Saka, 21, has been locked in contract negotiations with the club for more than a year and a new deal is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
But Ramsdale insists the Emirates idol is in no rush to put pen to paper. He added: “I’m pretty relaxed about Bukayo, let him move on with his team and allow the club to work things out so we can move forward.
“It obviously doesn’t concern him. He’s easily been one of the top three players in the league this season, especially considering his age.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7534423/ramsdale-arsenal-title-gunners-run/ Ramsdale admits Arsenal do NOT know how to handle title challenge as he reveals inspiration behind Gunners’ run