For a first job in management, the past year has seemingly thrown everything that could be thrown at Mikel Arteta.
So after another Premier League defeat on Saturday against Everton, how is the Spaniard coping with the pressure?
“I could not think about some of the challenges we have been through this year for many different reasons, some internal at the club and some external with the pandemic,” Arteta said.
“Then as well with some results that we have picked up in the last few months in the Premier League, but probably as well I could not imagine some of the nice moments we had when I stepped in.
“I knew the challenges that we were facing, that we had been going through for a couple of years or more already, so some really positive highlights and obviously now everything is looking a bit more negative because of our form in the Premier League.
“From within the club everything I am feeling is just support, encouragement, and total confidence that we will get through this together. Externally I never read what is happening, I know more or less what is happening but I never read it: in beautiful moments I don’t read it, in difficult moments I don’t read it, I just try to focus on the job and what I have to do.
“But obviously a club of this stature deserves the best and when it is not happening, everyone is going to question what is happening. I am the most responsible one in terms of results, so I have to accept that.
“What I am saying is that I don't read, if I started to read all the comments whether they are positive or negative, it would rive me mad and my suggestion to every player is exactly the same, all the time it happens with social media as well because you cannot control who is writing or what their intentions are so it is a very dangerous thing to do.
“When you talk about the dressing room and the atmosphere at the club, the atmosphere is good, as good as it can be when we are all hurting because results in the Premier League are hurting us. Everyone is worried and everybody is suffering because we want much more. We are working to get much more. In the dressing room when you are losing football matches it is difficult because they suffer as well because they care, because they want more, because the confidence level starts to go, but the unity is there.
“Is there 100 per cent unity around the club? It is impossible in any club even when you win because when players are not participating, it is more difficult but when you look at the perspective about how we are losing football matches and how we are where we are, it is pretty incredible.
“Last year we won the game against Everton with a 25 per cent chance of winning, you win 3-2. Last weekend, it was a 67 per cent chance of winning, and a nine per cent chance of losing, and you lose. Three per cent against Burnley and you lose, seven per cent against Spurs, and you lose.
"There is something else apart from that it is not just the performance on the pitch, it is something else that needs to go our way and at the moment it doesn't. Saying that, it doesn't care and you lose, and the only thing that anyone cares is that you lose a football match.”
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