Mikel Arteta has claimed dispelling negative influences from the running of Arsenal has been a big accomplishment for the club as they look to salvage European qualification on the final day of the Premier League season.
The Gunners were awful in the first half of the season and were struggling in the bottom half of the table for most of that time, prompting calls for Arteta to lose his job – some calls from the fanbase which haven’t completely dissipated.
However, their domestic form has undoubtedly improved over the last month or so, having won five of their last seven Premier League games, and they could still finish as high as seventh.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s fixture with Brighton, Arteta said the unity Arsenal showed when dealing with their poor form and the subsequent turnaround will go down as a positive for the 2020/21 season.
He said, as quoted by the Guardian: “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, that are trying to hurt [you].
“And to keep them together and block that and be so strong, I think that is some achievement. As normally when that happens [makes a cracking sound], that cracks and everything falls, and it didn’t.”
The Gunners have some squad trimming to do in the summer and managed to ditch some deadwood in the shape of Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac in the January window, but Arteta added he does not want to have to deal with the same situation again.
“It would be ideal to do everything as early as possible and have all the players who know they will continue here on the first day of pre-season but it’s not going to happen,” he revealed.
“We have the Euros and everything is going to be delayed. There are many things to be done that will take time. But we know how key it will be and what we don’t want is what happened last year.”