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Arteta insists Arsenal players have always been ‘behind’ him despite difficult period

Mikel Arteta has insisted that he always retained the support of his Arsenal squad, despite the Gunners suffering a difficult period.

While three wins and a draw from their last four Premier League games has breathed new live life into Arsenal’s season, there was a period in which it looked as if they could well be slipping into a relegation battle.

The Gunners may never have actually fallen into the bottom three, yet were languising in 15th in mid-Novemeber, following a run of form in which they failed to win in seven league games, a run that ultimately ended with their impressive win at home to Chelsea on Boxing day.

During that dire spell of results, Arteta’s role at the club came under intense scrutiny, with some even suggesting that the Spaniard could be sacked, despite having only taken on the role midway through the previous season.

Three successive wins in the top flight put an end to those rumours, with the former Manchester City assistant turning to youth in order to breathe life into his squad and get some much needed points on the board.

With the Gunners looking to have shaken off that poor run of form, Arteta explained what a manager needs when going through a difficult period, the 38-year-old explaining that all is not lost while the players remain on board.

‘First, you need support from the club, that is for sure, then you need to feel as well what your fans and supporters can see what you are trying to build,’ Arteta told his pre-match press conference.

‘Then the most important part for me is the feeling you have with the players. When you feel that the players are on board and they are really trying for you, that they are behind you, that gives you a big energy.

‘Probably when you feel that the players are lost and not behind you, that is difficult.’

The Gunners host struggling Newcastle United on Monday evening, with the Magpies currently winless in their last eight in all competitions, their most recent defeat coming away at bottom club Sheffield United to hand Chris Wilder’s men their first three points of the season.

That result and the side’s dour style of play has heaped pressure on manager Steve Bruce, and Arteta stated he is full of sympathy for his opposite number in what is a tough period for the former Manchester United defender.

‘Absolutely. When you are sitting in one of these chairs, you suffer and you have a lot of empathy for your colleagues.

‘We all know what it takes, how much we suffer and as well Brucey is a top guy, a really good manager as well but a top guy too.’

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