Mikel Arteta has admitted his surprise at the ‘input’ of his Arsenal players and has refused to rule out the club securing a top four finish and Champions League qualification.
The Gunners’ boss has enjoyed a mixed start to his career since returning to the club as head coach in December, with the club currently tenth in the Premier League and ten points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of their return to action following the winter break.
Despite improved performances, Arteta’s side have struggled for consistent results and the north London side have failed to secure back-to-back league victories since their opening two fixtures of the season.
The tight nature of the division this season means that European football is still within Arsenal‘s grasp, however, though the Spaniard admits his side must put together a consistent run of results if they are to climb their way into contention in the coming weeks.
“At the moment we are far from it but there are a lot of games to play,” he said, as per the Guardian.
✅ Evening session
✅ Day two in Dubai 🇦🇪 pic.twitter.com/sE6U24XORR
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 8, 2020
“It is very tight. Everybody is giving points away. It will depend on us. If we are able to put three or four wins in a row, we will be much closer.”
Arsenal have used their mid-season break to enjoy a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, Arteta keen to continue implementing his philosophy ahead of the club’s return to action against Newcastle this weekend.
The 37-year-old has described the trip as a ‘mini pre-season’ and believes the break has proven ‘useful’ as he begins to learn more about the playing squad he inherited from the sacked Unai Emery.
“It was like a mini pre-season,” he said before the clubs return from the middle east. “I wanted to use it to work on our principles and our styles of play, and as well, how we live together. There are things I want to implement together as a group, not just for the players but for the staff as well. It has been really useful.”
Arteta is confident that the players are responding to his methods in the early stages of his career at the Emirates, and admits he has been left pleasantly surprised by the ‘input’ of the squad as they seek to bring success to the club together.
“The biggest surprise and nicest surprise is the input the players put in – how much they are buying into what we do, the effort they are putting in and the willingness. They seem ready, with the right energy and commitment to move forward.”