Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta concedes he’s still working to heal the wounds exposed at the club during Unai Emery’s era.
The Spanish coach replaced Emery as Arsenal boss ten months ago after the former Sevilla manager was sacked after a disappointing start to the campaign.
Arteta has made a good start at the Emirates, winning the FA Cup at the end of his first campaign. However, perhaps his most vital work has been in restoring faith among fans, who turned against Emery.
Arteta inherited a toxic atmosphere at Arsenal, with players like Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang considering their futures with the gunners.
But he has worked tirelessly to mend the team and he’s revealed for the first time that he was ‘shocked’ by the disconnect between the team and the supporters when he first arrived after the sacking of Emery.
‘You cannot build something new [quickly], when something has been damaged and hurt badly, that you can see a big split between even our own fans and the team,’
Mikel Arteta told Arsenal’s website. ‘When you were in that stadium 10 months ago, I was shocked.
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‘You have to rebuild that [bond]. In order to do that you have to build some foundations, and afterwards start a process. You have to prioritise that process at the start, and where you are going to get to.’
Arsenal entered the international break on the back of a humiliating 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa. The club had beaten United a week earlier but the momentum of that win was lost with the defeat to Villa.
The gunners take on Leeds at Elland Road, with the London side three points off fifth and two points from 15th in the middle of the Premier League table.