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Van Persie: Arsenal's can't afford FC Twente failure

"Arsenal always wants to play Champions League and I think Arsenal needs to play Champions League," said van Persie, signed from Feyenoord in 2004.

"If you have players like this, good players, big stadium, then I think you need to play in the highest league in Europe.

"But this is football - if you don't win two games then you don't qualify and we play UEFA Cup."

Van Persie, 25, keeps an eye on football matters back home, and has been impressed by the progress of the unfashionable side from Enschede, who had to switch their home leg to the Gelredome because of on-going improvement works at the Grolsch Veste stadium.

"I know them quite well as I have Dutch satellite," he said.

"It was quite, though, a big shock because in Holland everyone expected Ajax to win and in the end Twente played better and these things happen in football.

"They had a great year last year, but they lost two of their best playmakers - Karim El Ahmadi and Orlando Engelaar. However, they got Theo Janssen from Vitesse, so they are still in good shape with a good team."

Van Persie feels Twente will have been disappointed to have drawn such a big name as Arsenal in the qualifiers, even though McClaren insists all the pressure is on the English team.

And the Gunners forward claims the much-criticised former national team head coach has been well received in Holland.

"They are really happy with him and almost proud to have him, because it was quite a strange move to come from England manager to Twente," he said.

"But they are all saying they really like his style of coaching."

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Tribal Football Staff

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