We propose a performance-driven cell placement method based on a modified force-directed approach. A pseudolink is added to connect the source and sink flip-flops of every critical path to enforce their closeness. Given user-specified input-output pad locations at the chip boundaries and starting with all core cells in the chip center, we iteratively move one cell at a time to its force-equilibrium location assuming all other cells are fixed. The process stops when no cell can be move farther than a threshold distance. Next, cell rows are formed one at a time starting from the top and bottom. After forming these two cell rows (top/bottom), all remaining movable core cells' force-equilibrium locations are updated. The row-formation-and-update process continues until all rows are formed and, hence, a legal placement is obtained. We have integrated the proposed approach into an industrial automatic placement-and-route flow. Experimental results on benchmark circuits up to 191-K cell (500-K gate) show that the critical path delay can be improved by as much as 17%. Our layout quality is independent of initial placement. We also study the effect on both layout quality and central processing unit time consumption due to the amount of pseudolinks added. We found that the introduction of pseudolink indeed significantly improves the layout quality. We also empirically demonstrated that the proposed approach is effective in reducing the total half-perimeter wirelength metric.