Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says it still “hurts deeply” to have missed out on the Premier League title, but he is happy with the progress he has made after taking over a club that had lost its “soul”.
The Gunners led the Premier League title race for 248 days last season before they were eventually chased down by Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who went on to win the treble, leaving the Gunners trophyless for a third straight season.
Arteta admits it still pains him that his side fell short but feels there were plenty of positives to take from last term, and from his tenure overall.
In an interview with Marca, the 41-year-old Spaniard said: “To this day, it still hurts me deeply, not having won the Premier (League) after spending 10 months fighting with City.
“But that’s the sport. That said, what has been achieved with such a young team is worthwhile. That is clear to me too.”
The Spaniard, who took over at the Emirates Stadium in December 2019, continued: “This started (over) three years ago. I was Pep’s assistant at City, we played against Arsenal and I saw that the soul of the club had been lost.
“It was not enjoyed, it was not felt. I knew that there was the option, shortly after, of being on the other bench and I knew that this club is so big that you had to connect the team with the fans. It has been hard to do, and now I feel happy.
“We have a clear identity, there is union and we are full of energy. That’s the biggest thing. From top to bottom, they all push in the same direction.”
Arteta responded to a question about reports linking him with a move to Paris St Germain, where he spent an 18-month loan spell during his playing career, by insisting he was “happy” and “grateful” to be with the north London club.
“I can only say that I am happy at Arsenal,” he said. “I feel loved, valued by our owners, Stan and Josh (Kroenke), and I have a lot to do here at this club. I am happy and tremendously grateful to be at Arsenal.”
The Gunners kick off their 2023-24 campaign against Nottingham Forest on August 12.