Facing the media for the final time this season, Mikel Arteta took the unusual step of opening his press conference with a statement.
Off the back of two damaging results at the end of a roller-coaster season, he seemed keen to accentuate the positives before welcoming supporters to Emirates Stadium for Sunday’s clash with Everton.
Here’s what he had to say:
“First of all, thank you. It’s probably the last time I’m going to see you after Sunday and then we all go on holiday.
“Just a quick reflection, it’s been a long journey and a very challenging one this season. We’ve come a long way as a club and as a team, we’ve transformed the energy, the vibe and the expectations of this football club. We’ve done it together, showing incredible unity between the staff, the players and everybody involved with the club and especially our people, which has been incredibly supportive throughout the season, especially in difficult moments.
“Now I can sense that I have the hope and expectations to move the club to the place that it deserves. We’ve done it the way we predicted with the project that we set a year ago, with a lot of young players and the senior players helping and the crowds again in our stadium and with a real sense of connection around the place.
“We are back in Europe, we don’t know where. Sunday it will be decided. Hopefully, it will be Champions League because on Sunday, I believe we’ll do what we have to do and we’re going to be cheering for Norwich to do what they can do, for sure.
“After that, we’re going to take the club to the next level. That’s the ambition. We have a very clear plan again, how we want to do it and execute it. It’s no secret, we need resources and we need to increase the quality and the depth of the squad while maintaining who we are as a club and the people that we have next to us. That’s going to be the challenge in the following season.
“Hopefully, on Sunday in front of our people, we can live another great day.”