Mikel Arteta has responded to questions about dressing room unrest at Arsenal by admitting the players are upset at the current run of form, and that it’s normal for tensions to run a bit high because of that.
The manager insists that the players care, and are hurting because of a terrible run of Premier League form which has seen the Gunners lose eight times so far, sitting in 15th position in the table.
Over weekend some stories emerged with vague talk of factions and players being unhappy, but while Arteta admits there are some issues, he puts it down to results, and is looking for the right kind of characters to show a positive response.
“The atmosphere are the club is as good as it can be when we are all hurting,” he said.
“Because results in the Premier League are hurting, everybody’s worried and everybody’s suffering at the moment because we want much more. We are working to get much more.
“In the dressing room when you are losing football matches, it’s difficult because they suffer as well because they care, because they want more, because the confidence levels start to go through … but the unity is there.
“Is it 100% unity around the club? It’s impossible in any club, even when you win because players that aren’t participating … it’s more difficult.”
Asked how he responded during his playing days when his teams were going through difficult times, Arteta said, “I liked to look around me, whether it’s staff, coach, or players, and I want to see fighters.
“Normally when that happens you have two types of people: fighters and victims. You just need fighters, you don’t want any victims.
“Victims bring excuses, victims bring negativity, and they start to blame everything that is happening around them, or that is not going for them.
“What you need is just people who fight, people who contribute, and people who are willing to give everything to the cause in these moments.”
Arsenal take on Man City at the Emirates tomorrow evening in a game Arteta insists is important to rebuild confidence, and take another step towards a Wembley final.