Mikel Arteta says he has a ‘beautiful challenge’ on his hands as he looks to make Arsenal more competitive next season.
As a traumatic season reaches it’s finale, there’s a chance that the Gunners could finish as low as 10th in the Premier League rankings, our worst performance since 1994/95.
While there’s still a chance to qualify for the Europa League by winning the FA Cup, the boss knows full well that he needs to close the gap on the sides finishing in the Champions League positions in double-quick time.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s final home game of the season against Watford, he said: “The league table doesn’t lie at the end of 10 months and 38 games. How long [will it take to improve]? Hopefully next season, it will be very different.
“We have a beautiful challenge; a very demanding challenge but a beautiful challenge ahead of us. We have to put this right, we have to bring this club back to where we belong which is with the top teams in the country and in Europe. In order to do that we have to make a lot of good decisions.”
Asked why Arsenal had fallen short this season – a question he’s faced many times in recent weeks – the boss went on: “Because we haven’t been consistent. Because we obviously had a lot of issues as well in the background, a lot of things that had happened.
“But at the end of the day, we weren’t good enough to be with the top teams.
“That’s not a lie and it shows the big room for improvement and the gap that is still there and has to be minimised really, really quickly in order to be in a good position to challenge those teams.”
He added: “It hurts so much [to say that]. When I said it’s a beautiful challenge, and as well from my side, it’s to bring the club into those positions again.
“I know how difficult it’s going to be because you can see the other teams, what they’re doing, what they’ve been doing the last few seasons. The road and the direction we have to take in order to be quick in that transition… I’m very positive that we’re going to be able to do it.”