Mikel Arteta ‘surprised’ by Arsenal spirit during tough times
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta admits he was "surprised" by the Gunners' attitude when things were not going well
Mikel Arteta has said he was left surprised by Arsenal’s “positive” team spirit when things were not going well for the Gunners.
It has been a turbulent season for Arsene Wenger’s men, with the disappointment of their failure to challenge for the title and reach the latter stages of the cup competitions eased somewhat by their impressive recent league form, which has hauled them up into third place and three points clear of Tottenham.
And Arteta, who smashed home Arsenal’s third from a free-kick during the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday, admits he has been impressed by the Gunners’ attitude when the going got tough.
“To be honest I was really surprised with the spirit when I came here – even when we were down it was so good,” Arteta told Arsenal Player.
“It is something you rely on because if you start blaming each other and shouting at each other it is not good.
“This group has always been positive, the manager has always been positive with the players and we have kept at it. We have the talent, we know we have the ability to win games and sometimes it is just about the balance in confidence. We have it all together now.”
He added: “When you are winning, life is good and you can see that the fans are enjoying it at the moment. They deserve it as well because they were behind us when things weren’t going right.
“Hopefully we can finish the season strongly because we have a group of players and staff who really mean business.”
Meanwhile, Kieran Gibbs, who opened the scoring during the win over villa, has called on his team-mates to keep up their consistent run as they look to cement third spot.
“The team is playing really well at the moment, we have found some momentum and we want to keep that going,” said Gibbs.
“We are all gelling together well. People don’t realise that we had a lot of signings at the start of the season, and they have settled in really well.
“We have shown how we have gelled and we are all aware of each other qualities, so we just need to remain consistent.”