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Arteta remains committed as Arsenal 'need fighters, not victims'

Mikel Arteta says he felt responsible for Arsenal’s “draining, frustrating and painful” poor form, admitting he questioned himself every day during their recent winless run.  Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea 3-1 on Saturday to ease some of the growing pressure on Arteta, who recently celebrated a full year in charge

That followed a streak of seven Premier League games without a victory, with the Gunners’ return of 14 points from 14 games their worst return at that stage of a season since 1974-75 when converted to three points for a win. 

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Arteta’s side still sits just six points above the relegation zone and the Spaniard has opened up on the mental anguish of going eight weeks between league victories. 

Since I arrived here, first of all, I had to analyze really well what was happening, what we can and cannot do. Obviously, results-wise, in the last few weeks we have all been suffering, I have been suffering. I feel very responsible for that,” he told the media ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Brighton on Tuesday.

“The worst feeling is because I want to do so well for this football club and at the moment we are in, I want to bring all my passion, the knowledge that I have, the right intentions to move as quickly as we possibly can as a football club. 

“In order to do that we need to win football matches, to be stable and win some time. When I don’t, I feel like I am letting the club down and the people that work for us, and obviously our fans.” Arsenal picked up just five points between the start of November and their weekend win over Chelsea, a run that included four successive defeats at Emirates Stadium.  That equaled the north London side’s worst top-flight run at home since 1959 and Arteta is grateful for the support he received during the concerning dip. 

“It is draining, it is frustrating and it is painful,” he said. “At the same time, I know we have to fight our way back. “In difficult moments is when you see the right people, they give me a lot of encouragement because I see people that are willing to fight with me, with the people that we have here. It gives me energy every day to carry on doing it. 

It is a 24/7 job. As well a lot of things externally, very challenging. A lot of issues and then when results hit you like that you can sometimes not find the right reasons to understand why we are losing football matches when we produce what we produce. 

“It is a big headache. But as well it is the beauty of this game, to find ways of doing things in a different way. “My responsibility is to motivate the players as much as possible, to keep them united, to keep the team spirit alive, even when you are not winning matches. “When you are frustrated and sad, you have to find all the time somewhere to do that.  

“My way has been my family and all the people that are here with me at the club, the board, [technical director] Edu, they have all been super supportive and that has helped me a lot.” Arteta won seven club trophies during his playing days, including the FA Cup twice with Arsenal, before moving into coaching alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in 2016. 

The 38-year-old was appointed as Unai Emery’s successor in December 2019, winning the FA Cup at the end of his first season in charge and the Community Shield at the start of the 2020-21 campaign. Arteta delighted with an important win for Arsenal. Asked whether he has found management more tiring than being a player, Arteta said: “The simple answer is managing. 

“Because you have a lot of people around you that you have to take care of. I always say you have 70 hearts in the training ground and stadium that you have to look after every day. “Every decision you make has an impact on their lives, their mood, and the next day. So you are very aware of that and you get attached emotionally to them and I’m attached emotionally to this football club.”


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