The ex-Gunners full-back has revealed how “competitive” the squad were behind the scenes during their hugely successful 2003-04 campaign
Lauren has admitted that “there was fighting” in training during Arsenal’s famous unbeaten season, while opening up on the “big egos” in the dressing room at the time.
Arsenal did not suffer a single Premier League defeat on their way to winning the title in 2004, becoming the only team in top-flight history to complete a full campaign unbeaten.
Arsene Wenger’s side played an irresistible brand of football, combining flair and pace with aggression and passion, with Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell forming the spine of the starting XI.
Despite their unprecedented success, Lauren, who was a regular in Arsenal’s squad at right-back, has conceded that there wasn’t always a harmonious atmosphere within the ‘Invincibles’ squad.
“Of course there was fighting,” the former Gunners defender told the club’s official website. “I love at Arsenal that the journalists didn’t go to the training sessions.
“In Spain in that time, it has been changed, now they have stopped the journalists going every single day. When I went to Arsenal in 2000 I said, ‘This is not possible’.
“Why? Because in [Spain] the journalists were going every single day to find history, what happened here, who’s fighting with who. In our time if the journalists were to attend training there would be history every single day.
“How competitive we were – all fighting between ourselves. I had a fight with Thierry, Thierry with Martin [Keown], Patrick with Freddie [Ljungberg]. We were all very competitive and we were all fighting because we all had big egos, big personalities but by the time the games arrived, we were fighting for the same goal.
“You need that, big egos but you have the manager as well that knows how to control the big egos, how to control those players. I prefer to be in a team that you see players face to face, you can talk to him, tell him whatever you want but when the games arrive you will be 100 per cent for the same goal, to achieve what we set out to do at the beginning of the season.
“This is the most important thing; without that, it is difficult to win things. I don’t want to be in a team that nothing happens, we’re all quiet, if you win no problem, if you lose no problem. You can’t compete like that.
“In our time we were all competitive, we were all fighting between each other but at the end of the day we were fighting for the same goal and that’s why we managed to win things.”