SOCCER

Insiders were trying to ‘hurt’ Arsenal but we stuck together, says Arteta


The Gunners boss believes there were people inside the club who were looking to do damage

Mikel Arteta says the big positive he will take from Arsenal’s season is the way they stuck together while people inside and outside of the club were trying to hurt them.

Arsenal go into Sunday’s final game of the season against Brighton sitting ninth in the Premier League, but only Manchester City and Manchester United have amassed more points than them since Christmas.

It has been an impressive turnaround since the dark days of November and early December when they went on a run of seven defeats from 10 league games and found themselves just four points off the relegation zone after being beaten 2-1 at Everton on December 19.

What has been said?

Arteta says there were ‘a lot of things’ that contributed to that costly loss of form and believes that there were even people inside the club who were trying to ‘hurt’ the Gunners.

When asked about the positives he could take from what has been a difficult season, Arteta said: “The best thing has been to keep a team, a staff, employees and everybody together.

“In those circumstances when you are not winning and when there are so many people, some inside and some outside trying to hurt.

“To keep them together and block that and be so strong, I think that is some achievement, as normally when that happens, that cracks and everything falls and it didn’t.”

When pressed on whether those people who were trying to do damage from the inside were still at the club, Arteta added: “No.”

What changed from January

Arsenal made major changes to the squad once the January transfer window opened, moving on several players who had not been featuring under Arteta.

The club came to an agreement with Mesut Ozil to cancel his contract early, which allowed them to get the German playmaker out of the club six months after he had been left out of Arteta’s Premier League squad.

Shkodran Mustafi was also let go, as was Sokratis, while Sead Kolasinac was sent out on loan to Schalke and William Saliba joined Nice for the remainder of the season.

Arteta’s learning experience

Summing up his first full season in charge of Arsenal, Arteta said: “Extraordinarily challenging. But incredibly stimulating.

“I am extremely proud to work with the people you have next to me.

“This club is even bigger than I thought and even better than I thought and I am prepared to do anything it takes to give the club the most success, joy and a feeling of pertinence and pride of what we are trying to do.

“I won’t stop until I do that.”

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