Mikel Arteta has admitted Arsenal are still ‘a long way’ from where the club should be after an indifferent start to the season.

The 38-year-old has led the club to two trophies since replacing Unai Emery in the hotseat, but his team came crashing back down to earth after a 3-0 home defeat to Aston Villa before the international break.

With Arsenal sitting in 11th spot currently, and following his insistence that his players weren’t the ‘team we’re supposed to be’, Arteta has reflected on the need for improvement.

The young coach’s reign has been marred by inconsistency, despite the silverware success, with Villa’s three-goal salvo at the Emirates ramming home his concerns over his team.

‘We’re a long way, I’m afraid,’ Arteta told the club’s official website. ‘It’s part of a process.

‘The results have to be immediate, and the challenge we have with the club we are representing is that we have to win as quickly as possible every game in every competition.

‘So far we have played 14 games in all competitions this season, we won 10 and lost four and the four of them have been in the Premier League, so it is a little bit imbalanced.’

Arteta has also pointed to the overhaul on and off the field at the club, which he believes is causing ‘difficulty’.

Their hierarchy, particularly in the recruitment department, has been subjected to a radical shake-up.

Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi were also frozen out of the first-team this season and remain in exile.

The exact reasons behind the former’s exclusion remain unclear, although Arteta has stressed they are purely football-centred, and Guendouzi’s attitude saw him met with the ire of his manager.

Arteta added: ‘There are a lot of things to do, short term and medium term, we have seen a lot of changes not only on the pitch but structurally as a club as well, it’s been difficult, it’s been a challenging time in the last three or four months, a lot of things have happened.

‘We have to settle and everyone has to realise where we are now, but I see the future as really bright. I am a really positive person and I tend to learn much more when things don’t go well and we have a defeat like we had the other day that really hurt after the performance we had at Old Trafford.

‘We have to understand why it happened, be really critical first of all with myself and try to understand the players better, and give them more solutions to win more football matches.’

There have also been plenty of positives for Arteta this campaign, however.

Arsenal have recorded three straight Europa League group stage wins, and also reached the Carabao Cup quarter-finals after beating Liverpool on penalties.

The 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford also strengthened the club’s hopes of recording a top four finish – while also ending their torrid 14-year run without a win at the famous ground.

The north London outfit return to action on Sunday against newcomers Leeds.


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