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Strachan Calls For Extra Effort Against Arsenal

Coventry City manager Gordon Strachan has told his players that they can avoid nerves in their Boxing Day clash with Arsenal by putting in extra effort.

The Sky Blues boss has urged the team to look beyond the star studded Gunners line-up and set their sights on securing three points when they meet in the televised match. (5.30pm)

He said: 

"The players can lose their nerves in hard work and that is what I want them to do.

"Any worries or fears that they may have about playing Arsenal will be forgotten if they are running about all over the place closing people down."

And the former Manchester United star believes that a game like Arsenal is an ideal fixture for the festive period.

"Itís a good one for the fans thatís for sure. It is always good when you are playing against a team like Arsenal on Boxing Day, because you can have a nice Christmas Day and then go along and watch the match.

"That is exactly what I will be doing, and I hope the fans get behind us because it does make a difference, but it also works both ways.

"We have to give them something to shout and get excited about in the first place and then they can help carry us through the game."

Despite Strachanís optimistic approach to the game the Coventry manager is under no illusions about how tough the game will be.

He said: 

"Arsene Wenger has been very clever at Arsenal because he has built an exciting side but he has kept the back five that are always so reliable.

"You look through their team and they have Marc Overmars, Denis Bergkamp and Ray Parlour who you would love to have.

"But then there is Patrick Viera and Manu Petit who are both absolutely brilliant players so they have quality throughout."

The Scot is sure that Coventry will only get a couple of chances during the game, and says his strikers must be ready to take them.

"There is not many ways to get at Arsenal and we will probably only have two or three chances so we must make sure we identify them and capitalise.

"We should not put too much pressure on Robbie Keane, the other two front players Noel Whelan and Moustapha Hadji have also got to take responsibility."

The Hare and Hounds, Coventry

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Staying Up by Rick Gekoski

CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 23 Dec 99

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM