Mikel Arteta welcomes pressure to deliver success as Arsenal upturn gathers pace

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Mikel Arteta feels it is right that every Arsenal defeat should be viewed as a crisis – with the Gunners boss determined to keep things moving forward in a positive direction this season.

Arsenal beat north London rivals Tottenham 3-1 on Sunday to record a third straight Premier League win, although it was at a cost with midfielder Granit Xhaka facing up to three months on the sidelines with a knee problem.

The mood around the club is now the polar opposite to a month ago, when three successive defeats in their opening league games again saw questions raised over the direction of Arteta’s squad.

The Spaniard, however, welcomes such pressure to constantly deliver the required performances and results to push Arsenal back up the table as they prepare for Saturday’s trip to Brighton.

“I think that feeling is very necessary at a big club because every defeat is a crisis and it should be a crisis, and you have to deal with that pressure,” Arteta said.

“If you want to be the best you have to cope with that and realise that excellence is the only way and the only thing that is expected. Anything else isn’t good enough.”

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta (centre) lifts the FA Cup
Mikel Arteta (centre) helped Arsenal lift the FA Cup as a player (Nick Potts/PA)

Former Arsenal midfielder and captain Arteta continued: “It is the history we have. We have a great history because we have that competitive edge.

“We have that mentality as well and that willingness to look further and have that ambition. To achieve that you need to be able to deal with that.”

Despite the euphoria of a return to form in recent weeks, capped by a dominant display over their rivals, Arteta expects everyone to be fully switched on to the job in hand at the Amex on Saturday against a team riding high in sixth and just a point off the top.

“We should enjoy it for a little while, now put that game aside and all our focus should be now on Brighton,” the Arsenal boss said.

“We have experienced a beautiful day with our people, and want another one at Brighton.

“The best way to do it is just to focus on that game, and there were things we should improve as well.”

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka leaves the pitch injured
Granit Xhaka was forced off against Tottenham, and faces a lengthy spell of rehabilitation (Nick Potts/PA)

Xhaka, accidentally caught by Lucas Moura after the Spurs forward had been challenged by Thomas Partey, could now not be back in action until next year, although it is hoped the midfielder will not need surgery.

“He has already had a couple of incidents this season with Covid and the suspension and now a long-term injury,” Arteta said.

“It is a significant injury, but he probably escaped an even worse injury in that action.

“He is a strong man and will use this time to focus on other things.

“He is a big player for us, someone who is really important for us and will be missed, but other players have to step in.”

Arteta added: “His mentality is top, he knows what he needs to do now, hopefully he can escape surgery, which is really important.

“After that, it is just preparing himself in the best possible way, because time flies.”

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