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May 12, 2011

Vieira: Arsenal are a soft touch

Patrick Vieira believes Arsenal will not end their six-year wait for a trophy until they become more effective at weathering storms on the pitch.

• Arsenal blog: The good old days

In the last week on February, the Gunners were still involved in four competitions - but they will end the season empty-handed after coming off the rails in the closing stages of the season.

Where once Arsene Wenger's side looked set to push for the title, they now face a battle to hang on to third place in the table, which guarantees a place in next season's Champions League group stage.

And Vieira, who was an integral part of the Arsenal team that went unbeaten during the 2003-04 Premier League season, says they must show more resilience in future.

"When they are in trouble, they always concede a goal," Vieira told the Times. "A big team when it's under pressure, it pulls together, it makes the trouble go away. Sometimes you know you have difficult periods, even the best teams. You accept the opponent is stronger, you defend, you stay strong, more compact. You accept you have to suffer.

"We did it in the [2005] FA Cup final against Manchester United. I've no idea how we won - United were all over us for 90 minutes. We knew the only way to win was penalties. Some days are like this. It's not your day. Accept it and find a different way to win. Fight for each other. It's not the way you want, but what's important is to win."

Vieira, now at Manchester City, wants boss Roberto Mancini to stay at the club, having delivered Champions League football and a spot in the FA Cup final. "I don't think the manager's future can even be an issue," Vieira said. "All you can ask is to improve year on year and we are one step higher. You can see that - the results are proof."

While Mancini looks set to stay at City, Vieira will discover after the Wembley clash whether he will be offered a new contract at Eastlands - and insists he is ready to retire from the game if a fresh deal is not forthcoming.

"It would be a pleasure to stay but if they think it's time for me to stop, I'll accept it," Vieira said. "I'm ready in my head to stop."

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