Mikel Arteta proud Arsenal stuck together when people outside and inside club were ‘trying to hurt’ them

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<p>Mikel Arteta has endured an eventful first full season as Arsenal manager</p> (AP)

Mikel Arteta has endured an eventful first full season as Arsenal manager

(AP)

Mikel Arteta says the best thing about Arsenal’s season is how they stuck together when people both outside and inside the club were “trying to hurt” them.

Arsenal will play their final game of the season on Sunday and end the campaign without a trophy - and possibly no European football next season, either.

Arteta has described the season as “extraordinarily challenging but incredibly stimulating”, adding that he thinks there is a big opportunity for future success.

Arsenal made their worst start to a season since 1974 during the current campaign and Arteta has now said people inside and outside the club were “trying to hurt”.

Arteta did not name any of those who were hurting Arsenal, but asked if they were still in the club, he said: “No.”

Asked what has been the best and most frustrating thing about this season, Arteta said: “The best thing has been to keep a team, a staff, employees and everybody together, in those circumstances when you are not winning and when there are so many people, some inside and some outside, trying to hurt.

“And to keep them together and block that and be so strong, I think that is some achievement. Because normally when that happens, that cracks and everything falls, and it didn’t.”

Arsenal could still finish the season in the European qualification places. They sit ninth going into the final game, but could leapfrog Everton and Tottenham into seventh and qualify for the inaugural Europa Conference League.

The Gunners still hope to qualify for European competition next seasonGetty Images
The Gunners still hope to qualify for European competition next seasonGetty Images

The Gunners need to beat Brighton and hope Spurs and Everton fail to beat Leicester and Manchester City respectively.

“Externally I think every supporter should be aiming for us to be lifting trophies and when that is not the case, because that is the dream, they are not going to be happy and they will be disappointed,” Arteta said.

“But they know what has been going on. It is not today, it is not yesterday, it is not from last year. So where we are, we know where we were but that is the past. Where we can be is the future and we will focus on there.”

Asked what he has learned about himself this season, Arteta said: “There are a lot of things that you cannot control. That I am extremely proud to work with the people you have next to me.

“That this club is even bigger than I thought and even better than I thought and I am prepared to do anything that it takes to give the club the most success, joy and a feeling of pertinence and feeling of being proud of what we are trying to do. And I won’t stop until I do that.”

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