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Arteta: Arsenal job my biggest challenge in football

By Liam Blackburn

London, July 26: Mikel Arteta acknowledged attempting to make Arsenal a force once more has been the biggest challenge of his entire career.

The Spaniard returned to the Gunners as head coach in December, taking over a side 10th in the Premier League and one that had gone three successive seasons without finishing in the top four.

Arteta had barely got his feet under the table when the coronavirus pandemic called a halt to football - and his rebuild - in March, and he, along with the other 19 top-flight bosses, has had to negotiate a packed fixture list to finish the campaign upon the resumption.

Arsenal remain 10th in the table ahead of their final league fixture against Watford on Sunday (July 26), but Arteta has an FA Cup final against Chelsea to look forward to as he attempts to win the club's first piece of silverware since 2017.

Asked if this period leading Arsenal had been the toughest challenge he had experience in football, Arteta replied: "Without a question of a doubt. I can write a book I think with the last six months. But as well I enjoy it a lot.

"The pressure that I put on myself is because I want the best.

"I know the standards of this club and for me it's very difficult to accept certain things.

"I'm very much detailed into a lot of things. I know they have to be in order to work - get to know the place better, the players, the staff, and do my best to improve in every area."

Arteta and Arsenal fans will have been encouraged by post-lockdown victories over Manchester City and Liverpool, but defeats to Aston Villa and Brighton and Hove Albion have outlined the task in hand.

A lowest league position since 1994-95 - before Arsene Wenger's long spell began - has already been assured and Arteta knows wins over the so-called 'smaller' sides in the division will help get Arsenal back up the table next term.

"If we are able to do the same next season against the top teams, and improve a little bit with the other ones, we are going to be right up there with the best teams," he added.

"But it's not as simple as that. One of the stats the guys just showed was about the difficulties that we have creating the chances is related to that as well.

"That's something that we have to focus in order to improve and be more consistent in results against any opponents."

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Story first published: Sunday, July 26, 2020, 3:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 26, 2020
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