Mikel Arteta is confident he will take Arsenal to the ‘next level’ – and hasn’t given up hope of playing in the Champions League next season.
The Gunners face Everton at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, needing to win and Tottenham losing to Norwich at Carrow Road to take fourth place in the Premier League.
Arteta’s side had Champions League qualification on their hands with three games to go, but suffered defeats to both north London neighbors Spurs and Newcastle, leaving them in need of a miracle on last day.
But Arteta feels this season as a whole represents clear progress for his young side – regardless of Sunday’s result – having finished eighth for the past two seasons.
And he still holds out hope that Arsenal can propel bitter rivals Tottenham into fourth place.
“It’s been a long and very difficult journey this season, but I think we’ve come a long way as a club. As a team, I think we’ve again transformed the energy, the mood and the expectations of this club and we did it together,” said Arteta.
“I have the hope and the expectation to move this club to the place it deserves. We did it as we planned with the project that we defined a year ago, with a lot of young players, with senior players and with our fans in our stadium with a real sense of connection around the place.
“We are back in Europe, we don’t know where and it will be decided (Sunday). I hope it will be the Champions League because I believe we will do what we have to do and we will encourage Norwich to do what they can do.
“After that, we’ll take the club to the next level and that’s the ambition. To do that, we again need to have a very clear plan of how we want to do it and execute it.
“It’s no secret that we need resources and we need to increase the quality and depth of the squad, as long as we maintain who we are as a club and the people we have at the same time. side of us. It will be the challenge of the following season, but I hope that in front of our people, we will live a beautiful day (Sunday).
After the defeat at Newcastle, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka called out his teammates, saying they were running out of “balls”.
Arteta declined to be drawn into comments but explained how this campaign has seen the club address deeper issues off the pitch.
“We have created expectations that this club deserves and this club should be, but in the last two games we have not been able to live up to those expectations,” he said.
“Overall, looking at where we were, you also have to be clear about what we needed to do and we are clear that’s not where we want to be.
“We want to be in a completely different position, challenge the top teams, and that’s the goal.
“It’s not going to end there, there is another step but it was really necessary. Not only about our position in the table, we had much deeper problems at the club than the table in my opinion which have now been resolved and now they seem very strong.