Granit Xhaka has urged his Arsenal teammates to keep looking forward even though the pain of our failed title challenge has hit the dressing room hard.
It’s looking likely the Switzerland international will leave the club for Bayer Leverkusen at the end season but he feels the Gunners are on the right track under Mikel Arteta after securing a return to the Champions League.
Facing questions after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest, Xhaka said: “We played a great season but we have to keep going, we have to take the next step because it will be much more difficult next season than this season. We know that.”
He also underlined his support for the manager when asked if Arteta is the right man to keep leading Arsenal; a somewhat bizarre question given the team’s progress under the Spaniard.
“You can forget this question – he is more than the right manager for this team.
“We don’t need to forget how we worked for 11 months. Even when we lost now in the last two games, of course the people see what happens now, but don’t forget the 11 months we worked.
“If someone told us before the season that we will be here, I think everyone would have signed it. Our goal for sure was to be back in the top four. Now we are second.
“Of course when you are so close to the title, you want to win the title. But we are there where we are, deserve to be where we are, and let’s see what happens next season. We have to go and do the next step.
“Yes of course it is a sad day for us, for everyone, for all the Arsenal fans. We didn’t want to end like this, but it happened now and the title is gone.
“It’s maybe difficult to speak now about what happens next because we are disappointed and sad, but we have to keep going. We have worked 11 months very well, I think. Let’s enjoy the last game at home and let’s look forwards.”
Arsenal will face Wolves at Emirates Stadium on the final day of the season when Xhaka is expected to wave goodbye to the supporters after seven seasons at the club.