Last weekend’s defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion saw us drop four points behind Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
As a result, Pep Guardiola’s side could retain the title this weekend and, while Arteta concedes Sunday’s defeat was “a very difficult one to swallow”, the boss has stressed the need for perspective.
“I just tried to paint the picture,” Mikel said. “We can look at the picture with a really narrow and thin vision, or we can have perspective of where we were, where we are today and what we’ve done.
“We cannot lose sight of what’s happened in certain moments where we weren’t at our best or at the level required to be the champions or be in the position we are in today. We have to acknowledge that as well.
“Obviously the team, the players, everyone around the club deserves huge credit for how far we’ve come in the season. But don’t forget there are still two very important games for us to play.
“There are lots of moments to be extremely pleased with what we’ve done. Let’s see where we finish in the next two games. Pain is part of football - when you don’t win, when you don’t perform at your level, it has to hurt. It has to hurt the right way and you have to use that pain to become better and to find answers and solutions that can help you win more. This is what we’re trying to do every single day.
“When you get closer to the top, the margins are smaller. What makes you win or lose is minimal - and it changes. It’s a penalty that goes in or out and then the season changes in that moment. It’s having three or four injuries or having a fully-fit squad in the key moments defines the season.
“What we have ahead of us next summer is extremely important and we have to absolutely nail it.”
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