December 8, 2021

Edu backs under-fire Arsenal coach Arteta, reveals the club won’t spend big in January

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The embattled manager received the vote of confidence as his team struggle to score goals and pick up points

Under-fire Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta has been given full backing of the club’s technical director Edu but relief won’t be felt in the form of big-money signings during the January transfer window.

After the Spanish tactician oversaw a promising start to his reign last season that saw the Gunners lift the FA Cup, the North London club have struggled to 15th position in the league after 12 matches – only scoring 10 goals in those games.

Edu suggested patience would be shown in first-time coach Arteta, particularly because of the impact of Covid-19 on the usual structure of seasons.

“If we’re not talking about patience with Mikel it would be very unfair to him. Because what a year we have faced,” Edu said.

“Pre-season challenges, three months without any football matches, a lot of things changing in the club. He started, and stopped, and when he started to get an understanding of all the squad he stopped again.

“He didn’t get a sequence to know everyone properly. It would be really unfair to Mikel to say something about that because the year was so challenging for everyone but even more for Mikel, who’d just arrived at the club.

“Because if you have a manager who was at the club for two, three, five years, it makes that situation easier. That’s why Mikel needs always, from my side, good words.”

Arsenal fans angrily booed the team at the final whistle of Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Burnley in the first match supporters were able to attend Emirates Stadium since the recent pandemic started.

However Edu wouldn’t tell the fans to relax but instead reassured them that the club was heading in the right direction with Arteta at the helm.

“Relaxing is too much,” he said.

“Just believe. Internally here, listen, we are doing well.

“My main message is that we are not talking about only one person, it is unfair to talk about Mikel, or Aubameyang because he is not scoring goals, or (goalkeeper, Bernd) Leno because he has to stop the goals.

“It is unfair to talk about one person, we are a football team, we have to talk about ourselves, talk about “we” and not “him” so that for me is the main message.

“The way I see things is very simple. It’s normal and easy to be driven by the results. But for me, the main point is when I see something in which I can see the future, see where we go, the way we’re building things, starting to see it on a daily basis.

“So the way we work, the way we train, the way we behave internally, if you see the quality of the work, if you see the quality of the people, if you see properly what’s happening here on a daily basis, it’s nothing to compare with the results.”

With many of Arsenal’s stars currently mis-firing, there is suggestion the club will need to dip significantly into the transfer market in January to try to save their season.

Edu wouldn’t speak about the type of players Arsenal would target during the next player movement period, but suggested the club wouldn’t be making a lot of squad changes.

“We don’t talk about [player transfers] external,” he said.

“We are here to solve the problem. We have the team, we have the squad, we have the manager, we have the staff, everyone in the right place to change it.

“Why (do) people have to expect a magician to go ‘boom! Come here, Messi! Boom!’? No. It depends on us.

“People might start to ask: ‘what are you going to do in the winter window?’ Of course we will try to do something but we have the responsibility to change it. Don’t wait for someone outside to come inside and be a magician because that’s not going to happen.

“Or if you can sign 20 players – which we’re not going to do – but that’s not going to work anyway. So the main problem, the main thing for me, is that we, as a club, have to understand our problem. Here. That’s it. Believe, because we believe. I believe.”

The Gunners face a tough run of fixtures in the next 12 days with league matches against Southampton (home), Everton (away) and Chelsea (home) – while also hosting Man City in the Carabao Cup quarter final.