Mikel Arteta has claimed Arsene Wenger left him the “foundations” to succeed at Arsenal, while insisting he can still “build something incredible” at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are currently sitting down in 13th in the Premier League table, having recorded three losses and two wins from their opening five matches of the new season.
Pressure began to build on Arteta after losses to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City, but back-to-back wins against Norwich and Burnley have lifted the mood slightly among Gunners supporters and the Spanish coach is confident he is on the right path.
What has been said?
It has been suggested Arsenal have been stuck in a downward spiral since Wenger called time on his 22-year reign in 2018, but Arteta believes his legacy remains intact.
“I think those foundations are in place [for future success],” the current Gunners boss told Sky Sports. “I think those foundations are in place because of people like Arsene and what he did for this football club. When he left, everything didn’t go with him. A lot of things stayed.
“I think the biggest thing that stayed is the way that he was able to educate, and transmit the values and respect and what this club is about. I think he was incredibly good at engaging people to believe in what he and the club were trying to do.
“He did it in a magnificent way because he played really attractive football when he was able to recruit some top talent that just glide together in a generation that just brought a lot of joy and fun to the football world in general and of course to Arsenal supporters.”
Arteta addresses his critics
Arteta was speaking ahead of his side’s first north London derby clash of the campaign against Tottenham on Sunday, which they must win to move into the top half of the table.
Some of the 39-year-old’s fiercest critics have questioned whether he has enough experience to lead Arsenal’s long-term project, but he feels some perspective is needed when assessing the first two years of his tenure.
“We are in a different moment in our history,” Arteta added. “Every club has to go through different patches, and we went through the patch of the last 18 months with a big covid situation on the back of a lot of instability in the club in the last two or three seasons.
“That’s a difficult mix to suddenly turn things around and build something incredible, but I’m a big believer that this had to happen. For this club it had to happen – we had to experience this and that’s going to make us much stronger.
“I can feel what is happening here, and I can feel what is happening with the supporters, with the generation of players that we have here, with everybody that is involved in the organisation. I think it is going to be pretty powerful.”