Mikel Arteta has discussed Arsenal’s recent ‘resilience’ as the club continue their pursuit of securing Champions League football.
The Gunners make the short trip to face Watford at the weekend as they look to extend their three match winning run and their push towards the top four.
In the first of those three fixtures, Arsenal were forced to play the last 20 minutes of their game against Wolves with 10 men following a red card to Gabriel Martinelli, with the Gunners holding on for a 1-0 win.
They followed that up with a 2-1 win over Brentford, before they came from behind in another meeting with Wolves last time out, with Alexandre Lacazette netting a 96th minute winner to earn all three points.
Asked about his side’s newfound resilience to win matches, Mikel Arteta put it down to be ‘belief and trust’, and a willingness to be successful.
“I think it’s very related to belief and trust,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “When you have the willingness that those players have to be successful, to play the game we want to play, how much they like to interact with each other, that’s where everything starts to flourish. At the end, the consequence of that is probably the resilience.
“Then that has to be built and to build that I think you need good experiences as well. Good experiences help you to believe you can do more, you have confidence and know-how to resolve certain issues when they appear on the pitch, and it’s good because it was very much needed in those games to win the matches.”
Arsenal started the season with three successive defeats to leave them at the bottom of the table, though Mikel Arteta said at the time that he was confident in turning it around. Reflecting on that confidence, he said: “That we have great people and very good players. I think that combination at the end when everybody is on board has to have a good outcome. I believed in that and I still believe in that today.”
Following that dreadful start, the Gunners’ recent form has moved them to within two points of fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played three games more, to leave Arsenal as the bookmakers favourites to clinch a Champions League spot at the end of the season.
“I don’t know [if being favourites changes expectations],” he said. “I think it’s positive because that’s where we want to be playing. The reality is we are not fourth but sixth still. If we win those games yes, but we have to win those games.
“We know what we have to do to get there and there’s a long way to go. The only focus and aim is to win against Watford.”