Mikel Arteta says the margins between success and failure at the highest level are small and that his Arsenal squad must stay humble and keep learning from their mistakes if they are to improve.
Off the back of silverware in the FA Cup and Community Shield, hopes were high that the Gunners could close the gap on the top four and secure a return to the Champions League.
After starting the season with successive victories, we’ve since been left rattled by a run of five defeats in eight games and currently languish in the bottom half of the table. With goals hard to come by and our player suffering from a mental block in the final third, it’s obvious that confidence has been hit hard at an important moment in the season.
Ahead of the North London derby, Arteta tried to rally the troops by reiterating his belief in hard work and patience and stressing his willingness to fight for his project.
Asked in his pre-Rapid Vienna press conference whether he’d spoken to his players about the recent stutter, he said: “Our process has to be reviewed constantly with what you do, what we’re trying to achieve, why things are working and why they’re not. Or if things are working, why the results are not working. I think if you focus on just one thing, you can get carried away and not look from the focus that is needed.
“I was certain that we would have moments of adversity and they are necessary. You learn a lot from moments of adversity. The challenge in a moment of adversity in this industry is how you react to them. You can become impatient and get frustrated and when you share that frustration, it obviously brings a big lack of confidence.
“For me, the dream that I have with the love that I have for this football club, is to achieve the level that this club deserves and build a project, but believe me, it takes time and this not a month or three months.
“This is time and time and time, and a lot of good decisions and a lot of support. This is where we are and I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to fight all the way through because I believe that we can do it. We are going through difficult periods, we will see who responds, who doesn’t and how we react as a club through different periods, and how we stick together when things aren’t going well.
“When things are going well, it’s easy. Everybody wants to be there on the front pages, on the TV celebrating, being part of something, but unfortunately, at the moment we aren’t that good and the lines are really thin. We need to be really humble and understand that these are thin lines, but if we do it, we can compete against any team and we’ve shown that.
“We’ve shown what has happened against certain teams over the last five years and what we’ve been doing against big teams in the last 12 months, and it’s not because of me or something easy. It’s because of the belief, the trust and the response that every player had in their reaction.
“It’s no surprise that we can compete against any team, but our reality today is that we can also lose against any team, and Wolves with what they did, they won against us. It happened the same against Leicester. With thin margins and who deserved it more or less, at the end of the day, we lost and there are certain things that have to be corrected straight away, but unfortunately, sometimes they take time.”
These are obviously testing times for an inexperienced manager. You certainly can’t blame him for trying to manage expectations. He did much the same when we were winning matches.