Mikel Arteta insists he is strong enough to face the pressure of Arsenal’s sad run as the Gunners boss dismissed their recent fights as simply a ‘blip’.
Arteta faced calls for his sacking after Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to Burnley that doomed Arsenal to their worst start to the season since 1974.
Arsenal have lost their last four home league games – their worst streak since 1959 – and another loss at Emirates Stadium to fit Southampton on Wednesday would put additional pressure on Arteta.
The Spaniard received a vote of confidence from Arsenal technical director Edu on Monday, but Arteta admitted he had to take responsibility for the team’s five-game winless run in the league.
Adamant, he still retains the support of his players, Arteta told reporters on Tuesday: “My feeling is yes but it is a question for them obviously.
“When I see the reaction and the way they try, there isn’t a single one that worries me that they aren’t doing their best for sure.
“And as far as Edu and (Manchester City manager) Pep (Guardiola) are concerned, they have clearly shown their appreciation, because in good times it’s very easy.
“In difficult times, when people like them are supporting you and two people who know very, very well what we’ve been through here, it’s obviously very much appreciated. ”
– ‘Take the balls’ –
Languishing in 15th place after seven losses in their first 12 league games, Arsenal are closer to the relegation zone than the top four.
Arteta is not concerned that Arsenal now face an unthinkable relegation battle and is confident the results will turn soon.
“I want to think that we are at a dead end, losing football matches makes me believe that, but we have to start winning,” he said.
“Because just dropping the table isn’t the situation we want to be in.
“But that’s our reality right now and we have to face it and we have to face it by being brave and fighting and not giving up on anyone or anything.
“Now is not the time to hide, it is time to put your face and your body on the line and for now, I’m sorry, but we have to take the balls.
Arteta has said he accepts that he bears “maximum responsibility” for the poor results.
“At the end of the day you have to win football games and this club is too big to take so many losses in recent weeks. So my chest is there hitting me, guys. ”
Granit Xhaka’s needless red card to grab Burnley’s Ashley Westwood around the neck played a key role in Arsenal’s latest flop.
Angry Arsenal fans have called for the volatile Swiss midfielder to be sold, but he retains Arteta’s support for the time being.
Asked whether Xhaka had apologized to Arteta and his teammates, the Arsenal boss said the case had been resolved “internally”.
“He’s had a hard time here and he’s not the only one, there are a lot of players who have had a hard time.
“But what I can say about Granit is that his professionalism and commitment with the club and with his teammates is maximum.
“He knows and we all know he had a point where he lost it and I know the reason. But what I can’t do is just throw away whatever it deleted because it made a mistake. ”
© 2020 AFP