Arsenal Transfer News: Arteta on winning, finishing fifth and transfers
Mikel Arteta admitted he was still feeling the pain of Monday’s defeat against Newcastle, despite just watching his team’s journey to a landslide victory on the final day.
The loss at St James’ Park meant a fourth-place finish in the top four was just a remote possibility for Sunday’s game with Everton, and the manager says he will assess the season in the coming days.
Speaking to the media after the match, he also discussed the players’ future, the win, and looked forward to next season.
On his thoughts after a good win
We did what we had to do. Basically we knew it was on our hands that we needed a miracle, and it didn’t happen. That’s it; the league table at the end of the season does not lie. It is true that last year with 67 points, Chelsea were in the Champions League, and we have 69 points and we are out of it. But that is the level and demands that this league is now facing.
On the team’s progress despite last place in the league
Well, we tried to give the fans, what we also knew about the result, everything they deserved, everything they did for us, how much they helped us move forward as a team and as a club. I can’t rate the season today, I’m sorry. I’m still in a lot of pain after what happened on Monday, and I’d like to have a fair assessment of what we did. What I can guarantee you is that I–we have tried–squeeze the lemon as much as possible, in every single drop, and we got to the point where we are. I know – I think we all know, and you can see the fans’ reaction to the team – you see what we have on the pitch, what this club achieved ten years ago, twenty years ago – and we know where we have to go. We will not stop it. I am very disappointed today, because we have created the expectations that we wanted, which I wanted for this football club, because it deserves it. In the end we come up with shortcomings, and that feeling of guilt and not reaching that level is painful.
On whether he feels fans think this project is headed in the right direction
Certainly, they have given me many reasons throughout the season – and they have shown with many factors – in the way they turn up. The atmosphere they built, inside and out for these players. I think they can see what we do, see what the players want to do, how they represent the club, the values on and off the field, and who we are as a group. Then we have the level we have, and that wasn’t enough. We have to make a clear assessment of that, how we are going to take the club now to the next level, and if we want to do that, we know what we have to do.
On Eddie Nketia’s future
When you see Eddie training the way he trains, he doesn’t even need to play, you know you have a player who will help you and he does. Look at his numbers with the number of games he’s played, it’s great.
On whether he’s going to be tough with the guys this summer
For my part, I will and the club will do what we have to do and what we believe is the best thing for the club to move forward and do it with integrity and honesty as we have always done. These players know their situation individually, when to communicate with them, and then that situation comes face to face in the way they deserve it.
On his feelings about ending the European League
Today, I don’t feel much [good enough] if I’m honest. I’m still in pain. That’s why I need to settle the dust, I need to go and get a few days off, because today I think I’m not going to think about the season as it is. But at the same time, I’m so grateful to everyone who supports our club, the way they give us trust, respect and motivation to move forward, because I think they believe in what we’re doing, but when you have that there, I’m a winner and I hate losing and we’ve lost something we can win and that’s why I feel the pain. I am sorry.
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