Arsenal chief Edu backs Mikel Arteta but explains when that will change
Arsenal technical director Edu has backed Mikel Arteta, saying the Spaniard is doing a ‘great job’ but admits his support will waiver if the players stop believing in his project.
The Gunners are enduring a woeful start to the season, their worst since 1974-75, as defeat to Burnley on Sunday left them 15th in the Premier League.
Arteta’s side have picked up just 13 points in their opening 12 games of the Premier League season, scoring just 10 goals in that time.
They have netted just once in their last five league games and that came in a defeat to Wolves as morale is at a worrying low point at the club.
A red card for Granit Xhaka on Sunday for grabbing Ashley Westwood’s throat on Sunday followed Nicolas Pepe being sent off for a clash of heads with Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski in a recent goalless draw and suggests a serious lack of discipline in the squad.
However, Edu is fully behind Arteta and feels he is doing all the right things.
‘Mikel is doing a great job, he’s doing really well here,’ Edu said on Monday. ‘If we’re not talking about patience with Mikel. It would be very unfair to him because what a year we have faced: three months without football matches, a lot of things changing in the club.
‘He started, stopped, and when he started to get an understanding of all the squad he stopped again. It would be really unfair to Mikel to say something about that because the year was so challenging for everyone, but even more for Mikel, who had just arrived at the club.’
The Brazilian did admit that his support could be withdrawn, though, if the players lost faith in their boss or there were problems with his staff.
He added: ‘If we start to see problems internally – if the players don’t believe anymore, if the staff isn’t good enough – then I will say “Hmm, I’m a bit worried”. But it’s such an unfair situation right now because the way I see things every day, everything’s right. It’s strange to say that because the results are not coming but I see properly the way Mikel is working.’
The former Brazil international was adamant that there will be no changes made any time soon as the club searches for stability under Arteta.
Replacing Arsene Wenger with Unai Emery clearly did not work and, although the change to Arteta appears to be unsuccessful at the moment, Edu is sticking to the plan for now.
‘I want people to understand what we are doing. We are in the process to have a beautiful future,’ the former Gunners midfielder explained.
‘It is not about Edu or Mikel, it is about stability. Now is the time to try to be a stable club in the old sense. Externally and internally, we need that.
‘Since we arrived here we have been changing, changing, changing: now it’s time to be stable and together at the same time.’
Arteta agreed with Edu’s sentiments after the Burnley defeat, believing that things are going well, in general, even if results are not coming.
He felt that his players were not performing in a way that suggested such poor results against the Clarets and in the recent defeat to Tottenham.
‘No, I wouldn’t say it’s panicking,’ the Spaniard said of his side’s problems. ‘Again it’s my opinion it’s how much because I can see it in training again and the way they try and the way they try and the energy that they put in. It’s the same today.
‘A team that is struggling normally you don’t see them play the way we were playing today again, and the way they played against Spurs the leaders.
‘Again we lost the game we gave the opponent a chance and they scored and this is about winning football matches.’
Arsenal host fourth-placed Southampton on Wednesday as they look to get out of the deep rut they find themselves in.
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