As Arsenal racked up defeat after defeat in December, the fact Mikel Arteta had two trophies to show for his first 12 months in charge at the Emirates didn’t bring him much comfort.
Arteta learnt the hard way that football managers are never far away from back page broken cannons, angry punters on radio phone-ins and lonely blokes in mid-range saloon cars muttering into their camera phones.
A ‘crisis’ comes easy in football and the experience has hammered home the need to look forward at all costs.
“When I was losing football matches, I wasn’t thinking about that cup,” noted Arteta when asked if FA Cup success bought him time with his employers.
“In football, the pressure that this football club brings is to win today. What you did yesterday doesn’t count anymore, it’s about tomorrow, the next game, the next goal. I just focus on that.
“It was great that we won two trophies in a really nice way against big teams, beating big teams, which gave them more importance. But now I am focused on what is ahead of us. That is done, OK we enjoyed it but let’s enjoy more in the future.”
When the season started, Arsenal were tipped to close the gap on the sides that have finished above them in recent years. While the gap on the team in first may have narrowed, the fact the Gunners sit in 10th-place in the table at the halfway stage points is clear evidence that things have not gone to plan so far.
While Arteta has repeatedly spoken about the need for patience and to trust the process he’s implementing, he acknowledges that Arsenal can’t keep settling for second best.
“Arsenal has to challenge for every trophy, and every game has to be won: that is the standard, and the level and the history related to us,” he said.
“I want to do that in a way that our DNA shows, which is using a lot of talent, young talent as well, using players from our academy and building something different.
“In the last few seasons we have so many different issues not to achieve what we want and in my opinion there were things that have to be changed and slowly, to build something, you have to change some pieces and we are in that process.”