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Arteta: ‘My players are giving their all’

Boss backs struggling Arsenal squad after dismal display against Liverpool

08 April, 2021

MIKEL Arteta insists that “sometimes a punch or a big slap in the face is a good thing” as he continues to wrestle with Arsenal’s inconsistencies.

The Gunners travel to Sheffield United on Sunday desperate to avoid a 13th Premier League defeat of the season.

But even predicting a win against a side stranded at the bottom of the table can’t be done with any confidence, especially following the dismal display the north Londoners dished up in their last league game against Liverpool.

“I cannot criticise the hard work or the ethic of my players. I have never done it,” said Arsenal boss Arteta. “Whether we are more efficient or not, whether we win enough duels or not – it’s not that they don’t want to run or that they don’t want to try.

“There are areas where we have limitations, there are areas where we’re inconsistent, but there are also areas where we can do really, really well.

“My demand is just to achieve our best level every single day, whether it’s in training or in a football game, and in the last two days again, I’ve seen that. I didn’t see anything different.

“That’s why it was a big shock to the system, what happened against Liverpool, because of the training that we showed since December, but probably it’s part of the journey. Sometimes a punch or a big slap in the face is a good thing to go back to reality.

“Every single area has to be much better.

“I can’t discuss the specifics but we need to do better. That’s all I’m interested in for the next six or seven weeks.”

Arteta will have to plan Arsenal’s recovery without influential left-back Kieran Tierney, who sustained knee ligament damage in the loss to Liverpool. While the injury does not require surgery, there are fears that the Scotland international could miss the rest of the season.

“It could have been worse because it looked quite scary, but the damage is not as bad as we first thought,” Arteta revealed after the news broke that Tierney will be out of action for at least four to six weeks.

“We have to go day by day, see how he is feeling and reacting and when we get close to playing time, we will make a decision.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments because he has unique qualities and we need to find different ways to fill that gap and find other ways to be effective.”

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