Mikel Arteta couldn’t hide his disappointment after Arsenal’s title challenge was killed off once and for all by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
While a win would have done little to stop Manchester City’s march towards a third consecutive title, the limp nature of today’s 1-0 defeat seemed to sting the Spaniard who has spent the last few days stressing the importance of perspective.
While he accepts this season has far exceeded expectations, his steely determination to push for more shone through in his post-game press conference.
“There’s no question about that, I’m not questioning that at all,” he said when asked if Arsenal had enjoyed a successful campaign.
“But today is painful, we’re here to win, I’m here to win, I want to win, I love winning.
“I love what everybody does at this club to win, these people deserve to win, and when you don’t get there it’s painful, this is how I feel today.
“I value a lot what the players have done, everybody here, but when you are there it’s the next step, you have to win and we fell short.”
While it’s premature to start thinking about next season, Arteta made clear that he plans to channel his frustration into driving the Gunners forward next year.
“For sure, we will find a way to do that,” he said.
“Today is just sadness, you see a lot of people who have put so much work, so much belief and so many hours and I am sad for them because I wanted to find a way.
“We wanted to squeeze everything that we had out of that group and find alternatives and ways to reach certain levels, and when we don’t we try in other ways.
“We fell short and it is my job and my responsibility and I have to analyse that and think.”
He also suggested that City’s era of dominance won’t come to an end unless Arsenal find ways to improve.
“We have to push that to happen and that’s not going to happen if we don’t make a lot of right decisions, and think smarter, and make the right decision and have the mentality every single day to get to that level.”