ARSENAL boss Mikel Arteta has admitted his side are ‘a long way’ from where they need to be and acknowledged it’s been a ‘difficult side’.
The Gunners have lost four of their opening eight Premier League games and fans were left alarmed after a particularly poor performance against Aston Villa last time out.
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But the manager is convinced that the future is bright – despite struggles which have exposed shortcomings in the team.
He told the club’s website: “We’re a long way, I’m afraid. 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.
“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.”
Arteta, 38, added that the defeats have helped foster learning opportunities for himself and the club.
He said: “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.”
The season started brightly with victory in the Community Shield against Liverpool and a stylish opening day victory against Fulham.
But things have proved more difficult since, with the team’s lack of creativity exposed in defeat’s against Manchester City and Leicester.
The absence of Mesut Ozil and the failure to secure long-term target Houssem Aouar have been pointed to as reason for their struggles.
The collapse in form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who has not scored from open play since the win at Craven Cottage – has also not helped the club’s position.
But there have been positives for the North London side, particularly the arrival and performances of Thomas Partey, who gained plaudits for his role in the win against United.
But the defensive midfielder had to be taken off with injury during the humiliating defeat against Villa.
Once the international break is over, Arsenal face the very tough challenge of a trip to Leeds who have given the league’s other top sides a run for their money.