Mikel Arteta has discussed the ‘beautiful challenge’ he faces in turning Arsenal into contenders for silverware.
Arsenal have endured a disappointing league campaign and sit tenth in the Premier League heading into their final day fixture with relegation-threatened Watford, the Gunners set for their lowest league finish since they finished 12th in 1994/95.
Arteta’s arrival as head coach in December has seen the north London outfit show some signs of progression but the Spaniard has been unable to secure continental qualification via their league position, and the Arsenal boss says his side are where they deserve to be at this late stage of the campaign.
“I don’t think the league table lies at the end of 10 months after 38 games,” Mikel Arteta said at his pre-match press conference.
“Hopefully next season it will be very different. We have a beautiful challenge, a very demanding challenge but a beautiful challenge, ahead of us.
“We have to put this right, we have to bring this club back to where it belongs which is with the top teams in the country. In order to do that we have to make a lot of good decisions.”
Arteta believes a lack of consistency and a number of background ‘issues’ are to blame for Arsenal’s failure to challenge the division’s top sides this season, but says there is ‘big room’ for improvement in his squad as they look to bounce back from a season of underachievement.
“Because we haven’t been consistent,” the Spaniard said. “We obviously had a lot of issues as well in the background, a lot of things that had happened. At the end of the day, we weren’t good enough to be with the top teams.
“That’s not a lie and it shows the big room for improvement and the gap that is still there and has to be minimised really, really quickly in order to be in a good position to challenge those teams.”
Arteta, however, remains positive about the Gunners’ future prospects and repeatedly described his rebuild as a ‘beautiful challenge’ as he bids to improve the side in the coming seasons.
“When I said it’s a beautiful challenge, and as well from my side, it’s to bring the club into those positions again,” he said.
“I know how difficult it’s going to be because you can see the other teams, what they’re doing, what they’ve been doing the last few seasons. The road and the direction we have to take in order to be quick in that transition – I’m very positive that we’re going to be able to do it.”