If last weekend proved demoralising for everyone at Arsenal, the new week brought some perspective.
Yes, the title had slipped through our fingers. Yes, the term ‘bottled it’ was being thrown at us like a series of Mike Tyson jabs. Yes, Manchester City underlined (emphatically, you have to say) just how hard it will be to beat them.
However, when the players returned to training on Tuesday, still licking their wounds from the 3-0 defeat to Brighton that all but confirmed we’ll have to settle for second place in the Premier League, the boss wanted to show them how far they had come.
“We did a different style of meeting, just remembering how far we’ve come,” revealed Aaron Ramsdale.
“He [Arteta] put on the board about how we can still have the most wins by an Arsenal team in the Premier League, and about how it’s very disappointing at the moment but how progressive the season has been, how positive we can be.”
Finding the energy to switch the mood around the training ground didn’t come easy to Arteta who looked utterly crestfallen on Sunday as his side limped through the final stages in front of a half empty Emirates Stadium.
He admits he needed 24 hours to heal himself but then took heart from the support provided by those around him.
“Sometimes you just go in bed and cover in bed like this for 12 hours and don’t speak to anybody. Sometimes you need your wife, you need your kids around you, your dog, your family,” said the Spaniard.
“I never had, since I’ve been three years at the club, I never had that many text messages after a game. It was incredible. I think it was 122 messages that I had. All talking about what we’ve done. They said, please don’t Iose perspective about what you guys have done.
“And that helps because it comes from friends that obviously you want to give your dream, but from a lot of colleagues, a lot of coaches as well, a lot of people at the club. And sometimes that helps you as well because you need sometimes that.
“I was only with that tunnel vision thinking about, I should have done that in the game, we should have changed that, we should have done that and you just kill and hammer yourself and that helped I think.”
While there are still two games to go, including this evening’s tough trip to Nottingham Forest, it’s understandable that attention is already turning to the summer and how Arsenal can strengthen the squad so that it can challenge again in the league while also coping with the rigours of Champions League football.
There are expected to be several new faces, a few who will depart on their own terms and a probably a couple of surprise casualties.
“We try to make the right decisions,” said Arteta. “Tough decisions sometimes are something that depends on you, sometimes it depends on players that they want to seek or look for a different challenge. It all depends.
“We’ll sit down at the end, evaluate where we are, what we can do, how we’re going to get better, which is the main aim, and be in the best possible condition next year to compete.”
The transfer windows have proved vital in raising the level year on year since Arteta took over and he’s expecting the coming months to be no different.
“Crucial,” was how he summed up this summer. “To go to the next level it’s going to be a crucial summer for us, that’s for sure.
“First of all, to make sure that we maintain everything that we have at the club right now, that we maintain the expectations, that we maintain that enthusiasm and energy that is around the place and we have a proper preparation to fulfil the objectives and the challenges that we’re going to have next season.”