Arsenal may have started the new campaign with back-to-back defeats but Mikel Arteta is confident that his players can turn things around if they keep playing with the same energy and togetherness.
Not helped by injuries and a Covid-19 outbreak, the Gunners have looked lightweight up front and disjointed at the back in their two opening games, leading the bookies to shorten the odds on the Spaniard getting the sack.
Given the financial backing he’s received in recent weeks, it’s very unlikely the club will go down that route anytime soon, but the manager is under no illusions that his side has to improve quickly if they’re to keep the fans onside.
“You have to realise first that the position that we are in is not where we want to be and we should not accept it,” said Arteta ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash with West Brom.
“We should not use too many excuses to justify where we are, just try to use the moment and the challenge ahead of us as an opportunity and take it and encourage everybody around you to have the same mentality, the same energy, and things will turn around.”
“We have done a lot of work, we are under difficult circumstances at the moment, but we need everybody together and the spirit to be fair around here, the togetherness that we have around the team, and even with the ownership, it’s really strong, but we need to give our fans and probably the outside world some encouragement, and that’s only given with results, so we need to get results.”
Reflecting on the performances against Brentford and Chelsea, which both ended in 2-0 defeats, Arteta pinpointed clear failings in both attack and defence.
“We need clean sheets and we need to score goals,” he said. “Without that we won’t be winning enough football matches and that’s for me the main area, the two boxes.”
While Arteta is surely hopeful that the return to fitness of key players will aid his cause, he knows that, in the short-term, building the confidence of his youngsters and their ability to adapt to further unexpected obstacles will be vital.
“Well, that’s a big word, confidence in what we do and what they are capable of doing and try to find the reasons why you don’t win football matches,” he said.
“They know our preparation has been disturbed. We had to do something at the Brentford game and we had to alter it 24 hours before the game. It happened exactly the same thing against Chelsea, but we have to adapt.
“I want to say they are a team that never gives up and we didn’t do it in either of those two games, so I think there were different feelings after the games. Against Chelsea, you saw a team in the second half as well that keeps believing. But, to be fair, they were better than us, and that’s football.”
He added: “This is a project that is going to take some time. You can see and tell from the recruitment that we’ve done and the really young squad that we have at the moment and it cannot happen overnight.
“We all want to make it as quick as possible and we know that the responsibility for us it to fight with the top teams in every competition and that’s not going to change, and I think we really need them and this group of players really needs them and the club needs them now next to us because we need that confidence, that support and that energy.”