Mikel Arteta has called for perspective on the progress Arsenal have shown this season despite the club’s disappointment in the Premier League title race.
Arsenal led the Premier League table for much of the campaign, but a run of two wins from their last seven league games has seen the Gunners’ lead overhauled.
The north London club’s 3-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend means title rivals Manchester City can win the Premier League this weekend and Arteta admits that loss was a ‘difficult one to swallow’.
“Obviously a very difficult one to swallow, especially the way it happened in the last 25 minutes of the game,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s trip to Nottingham Forest.
“At first, when it was much more competitive, we should have taken advantage of many more situations that we had in the game. It was tough, but at the end, in the following days we discussed where we are, what we’ve done, the remaining two games, what the possibilities are there, what’s in our hands and what we can deliver. We want to continue to be at the level we’ve been at for 10 months.”
Arteta discussed how he had reacted to that defeat to Brighton and said he has looked to take the positives from Arsenal’s season so far.
The Gunners have secured Champions League qualification for the first time since 2016/17 and Arteta said it is important to view their campaign with perspective.
“I just tried to paint the picture. We can look at the picture with a really narrow and thin vision, or we can have perspective of where we were, where we are today and what we’ve done.
“We cannot lose sight of what’s happened in certain moments where we weren’t at our best or at the level required to be the champions or be in the position we are in today. We have to acknowledge that as well. Obviously the team, the players, everyone around the club deserves huge credit for how far we’ve come in the season. But don’t forget there are still two very important games for us to play.”
Arteta discussed this weekend’s opponents Nottingham Forest, who are battling to preserve their Premier League status with two games remaining. The Spaniard has been impressed with Steve Cooper’s work at the City Ground, following mass changes to the squad last summer.
“Brilliant – they made so many changes and I’m sure he found it very difficult with the amount of signings they had. The club was patient, especially with the way they performed the year before and what they’ve done in the league. Maintaining that belief and that unity around the place, big credit to him for what he’s done with the team.”
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