‘I was worried’ – Mikel Arteta explains what really concerned him when he took charge of Arsenal

Mikel Arteta celebrates with the FA Cup after Arsenal's win over Chelsea
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal finished the season on a high by winning the FA Cup (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta is satisfied with the progress he’s made in his first few months as Arsenal manager after bringing back a sense of ‘unity’ in the squad, which he feels was badly lacking when he took over the reins from Unai Emery.

The 38-year-old replaced Emery with Arsenal languishing down in eighth in the Premier League table and, while he was unable to improve the club’s position by the end of the season, there have been signs of major improvement in north London.

The Gunners managed to end the season on a positive note after beating bitter rivals Chelsea at Wembley to get their hands on the FA Cup for a record 14th time and players and fans appear to have taken to their new manager.

Mikel Arteta talks to Arsenal's official website
Arteta reviewed Arsenal’s season with the club’s official website (Picture: Arsenal FC)

Arsenal’s first-team squad will begin preparations for the new campaign when they return to training this weekend and Arteta sat down to review last term with the club’s official website on Wednesday afternoon.

The Spaniard admits the lack of togetherness and negative energy amongst Arsenal’s players and staff was a real concern when he took charge last December.

Looking back on the day he returned, Arteta explained: ‘I could have a sense from the outside what was happening from everything that I was reading and the people I had inside the club that could feed me some information.

‘But I think until the day you walk through that door and start to really feel the energy and what is happening, it’s difficult to predict what role you have to take in terms of what impact you have to make.

‘I was worried. I saw a lot of things that worried me in terms of the unity and the energy that was around the place. But in the next few days, I completely felt that something was changing.

‘I must say a big thank to all the same with how helpful they were to me when I joined and as well to the players because they really got on board, changed their attitude straight away and they started to be together, training really well and paying attention to what we wanted to do.’

Mikel Arteta looks on during Arsenal's FA Cup final win over Chelsea
Arteta says he was really ‘worried’ about the lack of unity at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Arteta expressed his gratitude to Arsenal supporters for the way they got behind the team which helped transform what was a toxic atmosphere at the Emirates.

‘I was with City just a few days before my appointment and I saw the stadium and what was happening there and I was very concerned. Straight away, the fans got right behind the team and we started to create a different atmosphere at the Emirates.

‘That was a huge help for myself, the players and the club.’

Arsenal players celebrate with the FA Cup after beating Chelsea
Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup for a 14th time (Picture: Getty)

Arteta says results soon followed after the culture began to change for the better at the club.

‘It has to be an environment where everybody has to respect each other, where we have to work together and we have to express the passion and how lucky we are to be where we are,’ he continued.

‘There are so many things that are related in order to achieve the targets that we have.

‘When I talk about the culture and the processes, it’s because without that I don’t believe that we’re going to get to the next level because there are going to be some bumps in the road. And without that unity, we cannot drive this massive ship that we have to manage with Arsenal and the expectations that are involved with the club.

‘The moment we started doing that, I started to change a few things that for me were really relevant. The players and staff got behind them and we started to see some results straight away.

‘We have to maximise our strengths that we have a lot of and at that moment I didn’t believe we were doing that.

‘We have huge potential and no limits, it depends on us and that’s an easy thing to change.’

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

MORE: Robin van Persie recalls first memories of ‘world-class’ Serge Gnabry

MORE: Gabriel's team-mate drops major hint over Arsenal transfer move

No comments