Willian explains poor start at Arsenal and reveals talks with Mikel Arteta

Willian looks on during Arsenal's FA Cup clash with Newcastle
Willian has badly struggled to live up to expectations at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Willian has lifted the lid on his struggles since joining Arsenal last summer and says the ‘support’ he’s received from head coach Mikel Arteta has been invaluable while he continues to ‘adapt’ to life at a new club.

The 32-year-old forward spent seven years with arch-rivals Chelsea before completing a free transfer to the Emirates last August and began brightly with a pair of assists on his Arsenal debut away to Fulham in the Premier League.

However, since the Gunners’ 3-0 win at Craven Cottage back in September, Willian has added just one more assist to his tally and is yet to find the back of the net for the north London outfit, which has led to strong criticism from pundits and supporters alike.

‘Well it’s never easy changing club, especially after being somewhere for so long. I was at Chelsea for seven years before coming to Arsenal and then you have a new club, new people, a new philosophy,’ Willian told Arsenal’s official matchday programme ahead of the side’s clash with Crystal Palace.

‘Things are different so I’m still adapting but I feel good, I have been learning a lot – a new footballing philosophy.

‘Everyone is great here. I know I can improve a lot, and of course my performances on the pitch can be a lot better.’

Willian runs with the ball in Arsenal training
The Brazil international admits he’s been a long way from his best at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Asked why he’s so far been unable to produce his best form, Willian replied: ‘To be honest sometimes it can be difficult to explain.

‘The first game was great for me, against Fulham, I felt I had a good performance and gave two assists. And then, I don’t know.

‘I’m always trying to do my best, sometimes things don’t go the way you want. You have to say it’s a part of football and a part of life. Sometimes you have good moments, other times you have bad moments, you have to learn from that.

‘And right now, I know I’m far away from being at my best, but I’m determined to work hard and change this.’

Willian and Mikel Arteta talk in Arsenal training
Willian and Mikel Arteta have talked throughout his struggles (Picture: Getty)

The Brazil international said it had been ‘great’ having Arteta in his corner and the pair have spoken extensively throughout his difficult patch.

Asked whether he had discussed his underwhelming start with the Spaniard, Willian responded: ‘Of course we talk about lots of things together, and I know I have his support.

‘That’s great for me, and to have the support of the club, so what I can do is always work hard, give my best in training to try to improve myself.

‘This is the only way to get back to good performances.’

Willian runs with the ball during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Everton
The former Chelsea man is yet to score a single goal for Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

Encouraged by Arsenal’s resurgence over the winter period, Willian claimed there was no reason why he and his team-mates can’t get their hands on major silverware this season.

On his hopes for the campaign Willian explained: ‘We need to keep playing our football in the same way that we have recently.

‘I think we have to continue on that way because we can improve every week, and still achieve our goals.

‘We want to get back up to the top of the Premier League, it’s still possible for us to win trophies this season so that’s our aim. The Europa League starts again next month – there are still a lot of games left to play this season.

‘I know that this squad is capable of winning more trophies. They showed it last season before I arrived in the FA Cup and I think we are getting stronger all the time. We have very good players and there’s no doubt we have a squad to win things.

‘Let’s take it step by step and we will get there. If you look at the league table, it’s so close. We know we are low down the table, but in fact we are still only ten points off top.

‘Of course that’s more than we want at this stage, but it’s also not too much that we can’t aim for it. If you can win three or four consecutive games, you can quickly be there, moving up.

‘We have to go for it now in the second half of the season.’

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