Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal are 'still far away' from reaching the vision he had for the club when he took over in December 2019.
The Gunners were in 10th place in the Premier League when Arteta was appointed manager, and although he has overseen a huge improvement in results this season – to get the side up to fourth place with 12 matches remaining – the Spaniard says there is still plenty of work to be done.
We have won nine of our last 11 league games - only losing to Manchester City in that time - and have amassed 14 points more than at the same stage last season.
But speaking to the media before Wednesday's match with Liverpool, Arteta said the process is ongoing, and the gap with where he wants to be is still big.
"I think we are much closer than we were, and probably the closest that we have been in terms of what we are looking for. But I focus on that gap. And that gap is still big.
"We have to make things quicker, sharper. We can be more adaptable, we can be much more unpredictable, we can have much more flexibility and we can be much more consistent throughout games to maintain that level."
When asked to identify the biggest change in the club over the past few months, he summed it up with one word: unity.
"Everybody is aligned with the same purpose," he said. "With the same determination and with the same level of passion to achieve what we want to do. Accepting we are not there, but we want to get to the top very quickly and in order to do that we have to do it together.
"We don’t have any single player or any single member of staff in the organisation that can do it individually, all by themselves so it has to be a collective drive to get that bit extra and one of those main factors, for me, has been the Emirates and our supporters. How much they are giving to the team, it’s difficult to put a number on it but I’m telling you it’s been one of the biggest parts."
Arteta added that he didn't want to use off-the-field drama as an excuse for previous form, and that the club can learn from previous mistakes.
"I hate that feeling, of feeling sorry for ourselves. Of saying ‘oh, this is happening to us again’. A lot of things happen, and when they happen we have to find the reason why. If we don’t want it happening again we have to do something about it because if we keep doing the same thing then I expect the same thing - or worse - to happen, because we already have a history.
"So we have less margin to suffer, because we have already been there. We have to change that dynamic completely and look at what we can become and how we are going to do it. If we put all the effort and energy there, the rest will take care of itself."
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