Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opens up with rare honest assessment of ‘painful’ tenure

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Mikel Arteta says he has “let Arsenal down” with each of the 15 defeats he has suffered in his first year in charge. He goes into Tuesday’s trip to Brighton on the back of a 3-1 win against Chelsea – Arsenal’s first Premier League win since November 1.

However, a much-improved performance against their London rivals has made him uncharacteristically honest about the difficulties he has had settling into front-line management – describing the period as “draining, frustrating and painful”.

“Obviously results-wise in the last few weeks we have all been suffering, I have been suffering,” he said. “I feel very responsible for that.

“The worst feeling is because I want to do so well for this football club and at the moment we are in, I want to bring all my passion, the knowledge that I have, the right intentions to move as quickly as we possibly can as a football club.

“In order to do that we need to win football matches, to be stable and win some time.

“When I don’t, I feel like I am letting the club down and the people that work for us, and obviously our fans.

“It is draining, it is frustrating and it is painful.”

But rather than be bowed by that, the Spaniard is determined to battle on and is convinced he has the right people around him at the club to turn the current situation around.

“At the same time I know we have to fight our way back,” Arteta said.

“In difficult moments, when you see the right people, they give me a lot of encouragement. I see people that are willing to fight with me, with the people that we have here.

“It gives me energy every day to carry on doing it.”

Meanwhile, Arteta has not been listening to the jungle drums beating ominously about his future.

Instead they are deafened by the “70 hearts” he hears emanating from the very walls of the club he says he is “proud” to lead.

That sensation is something he has felt even more acutely during these unprecedented times of lockdown where those locked within the bubble of the club have become increasingly dependent on his guidance.

From chairman to kit man, Arteta is a man who accepts he carries the entire weight of one of the most famous clubs on the planet upon his slender shoulders.

“I always say you have 70 hearts in the training ground and stadium that you have to look after everyday,” he revealed. “Every decision you make has an impact on their lives, their mood and the next day.

“So you are very aware of that and you get attached emotionally to this football club. That makes the emotion even bigger and stronger and that will drain you energy wise.”

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