Mikel Arteta admitted that Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Norwich was tough going at times, but had plenty of praise for the Emirates faithful who were fully behind the team during a fairly open encounter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the only goal of the game, and in truth, the Gunners should have scored more with some good chances from their 30 shots on goal that went begging.
Norwich had some dangerous moments of their own, and the scoreline meant it would only have taken a moment for a good day to turn less so.
Afterwards, the Arsenal boss was pleased with the result, particularly in the context of how the season has gone so far.
“Emotionally it was a very tough game to play, after the three defeats, playing here in front of your crowd,” he said.
“It was a must-win game and I saw us straight away come out of the blocks really quickly, really aggressively, wanting to score and please everybody.
“We had a period after 20 or 25 minutes where we started to look a little bit shaky, trying to attack too quickly and giving the ball away.
“It was an open game. In the second half, we took control of the game again and we should have scored many more.”
The pressure has been intense for obvious reasons, and Arteta was asked about the support from the fans inside the stadium who backed the side throughout.
“What I’m describing is probably what you guys don’t see – what happens internally,” he said.
“I had doubts, I had question marks because I had to read and I had to understand and I had to reflect a little bit on different opinions and criticism.
“I don’t know how much they’re going to be affected. I think the club has been extremely open to send a message across of what we are trying to do. I had a question mark, I have to be honest.
“But I just saw incredible fans trying to inspire a team, trying to tell them ‘we are ready to suffer with you and we’re going to support you’. The rest, it doesn’t matter.
“I’m extremely grateful and I got pretty emotional to see that because I think it’s pretty difficult to see in football.
“People are maybe expecting something or they want to go down other roads and try to transmit hate or whatever, and it wasn’t the case at all – so thank you so much.”