Arteta admits Arsenal were 'damaged and hurt badly' when he arrived

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal were ‘damaged and hurt badly’ when he arrived to succeed Unai Emery… with Spaniard left ‘shocked’ at ‘big split’ between fans and the team

  • Mikel Arteta was hired as Arsenal boss in December 2019 replacing Unai Emery
  • Emery’s time at the Emirates had become untenable with fans calling for his exit
  • Arteta won the FA Cup last season – as he continues to rebuild the Gunners

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he was ‘shocked’ by the broken bond between the first-team and the fans upon his arrival and has been working to mend that discord.

Arteta took charge of the Gunners in December 2019 following the dismissal of Unai Emery.

Emery’s sacking was long overdue for many Arsenal supporters who were aghast by his tactics and indifferent results, which culminated in a seven-game winless run.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he was ‘shocked’ at the disharmony when he first joined

Arteta replaced Unai Emery – with many Arsenal fans aghast at the latter’s choice of tactics 

Then-captain Granit Xhaka was involved in a public spat with Arsenal fans too during a game

Towards the end of Emery’s spell in charge then-Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka gestured and swore at home supporters when he was jeered during his substitution in a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace. That incident was a microcosm of the dynamic between players and fans at the time – something Arteta, who won the FA Cup with Arsenal last season, has been trying to repair.

‘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,’ he told the Gunners’ official website.

‘When you were in that stadium 10 months ago, I was shocked.

‘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.

Arteta ended his first campaign with silverware last season by guiding Arsenal to FA Cup glory

‘To do that you need some pieces that have to fill in there, and you have to start to create a puzzle and try to manage it because there will be bad moments and you don’t want to break it.

‘All the time you have to be very alert because it takes very little to break what you are building.’

Arteta will be hoping to continue that rebuild on Sunday when Arsenal travel to Leeds United in the Premier League. 

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