Mikel Arteta says life as a manager is much tougher than being a player and he readily admits the disappointment of Arsenal’s recent poor form has left him emotionally drained.
While the Spaniard was buoyed by the 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day – a result that ended a run of seven Premier League games without a win – he’s well aware the pressure will be cranked up again if his players don’t beat fellow strugglers Brighton and West Bromwich Albion in their next two games.
Ahead of Tuesday’s trip to the AMEX he reflected: “Obviously results-wise in the last few weeks we have all been suffering, I have been suffering.
“I feel very responsible for that. 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.
“It is draining, it is frustrating and it is painful. 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.”
A novice in the dugout when he was appointed head coach at the Emirates just over a year ago, Arteta couldn’t possibly have predicted all the highs and lows he’s experienced since.
That every decision he makes impacts so many others, is a burden he admits weighs a heavy on his shoulders.
Asked if he finds managing or playing more tiring, he explained: “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. That makes the emotion even bigger and stronger and that will drain you energy-wise.”