Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta is much aware that if his players do not improve their performance, he would easily be sacked though he insisted that he could not question his players’ ‘fight’ and ‘energy’ in their 2-1 defeat to Everton.
The Gunners were missing their injured captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Goodison Park as they fell on their eighth league defeat in 14 games this season as Yerry Mina’s header in the closing moments of the first half proved decisive.
The Toffees’ winner came just ten minutes after Nicolas Pepe had levelled from a spot kick to cancel out Rob Holding’s own-goal on Merseyside.
The result moved the Toffees to the second in the Premier League table behind city rivals Liverpool, while Arsenal are hovering just four points above the relegation zone in 15th place.
A devastated Arteta said he was focused to getting the team out of the current predicament.
When prodded on the growing calls for him to get sacked at his post-match press conference. The Spaniard replied: ‘I understand that. My energy and my focus is only on getting the team out of that situation, maintaining the spirit of the team.”
”The fight that the boys show every time they go on the pitch and the energy the boys show on the pitch. You can see that, you cannot deny that. ‘Obviously we are against the results, it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough for the standards of this football club and this is the challenge. And the fact that we are against.’ said Arteta
Asked whether he felt more pressure than ever before, Arteta responded: ‘Yes, obviously it’s a really complicated situation. ‘But I am very encouraged from what I see from the players to try and continue doing what we are trying to do with things that of course we have to improve. ‘But as well I think we’ve been very, very unlucky not to pick up many, many more points.’
Arteta felt Arsenal players may have been worried about making mistakes in the first half and were ‘much better’ in terms of creativity after the break. ‘I think the first half the first phase was slow,’
He added ‘Whether it’s because players are restricted and they are afraid to make a mistake, or just because we felt that it was comfortable to do it. ‘But the second half it was much better, we talked about it at half-time that people have to be quick, the intention the movement to attack the spaces and we did it much more efficiently but it wasn’t enough to score more goals.’