MIKEL ARTETA has defended Arsenal’s brief inclusion in the European Super League and declared: “We are one of the best clubs in the world.”
The Gunners boss acknowledged that his team will have to face the consequences of being at the heart of this week’s upheavals.
Mikel Arteta has defender Arsenal’s inclusion in the European Super LeagueCredit: Getty
A few eyebrows were raised when the Gunners were one of 12 teams picked for the competitionCredit: Getty
Arteta insists Arsenal remain one of the best clubs in world footballCredit: Getty
And he confessed that the proposed breakaway had been badly handled, after getting a personal apology from American owner Stan Kroenke.
But the Spaniard bristled at suggestions that Arsenal were lucky to be invited to join the Euro rebels after dropping out of the Champions League and loitering mid-table in the Premier League.
It is now 17 years since Arsenal last won the title, yet Arteta, 39, insisted: “We are one of the best clubs in the world because of our history, which you cannot deny.
“That history is attached to results and to a certain way of doing things and representing our values in the right manner.
“The amount of love and support that we have around the world is not a coincidence.
“It has been earned over years and years, thanks to a lot of people who have been involved in the history of this club.
“Right now we are in ninth position in the Premier League but we are also in the semi-final of a European competition, so you can look at it from a different perspective.
“But we are always trying our best and we could not be any prouder to represent this club and we totally understand the excellence that we have to pursue.”
The Gunners are currently sitting mid-table in the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty
Arsenal have become regulars in the Europa League instead of Champions LeagueCredit: Getty
Arteta admits Arsenal will have to face the consequences of joining the ESLCredit: Getty
Yet Arteta’s defence of Arsenal’s values came at the end of a week in which they were forced by public outrage to abandon their secret breakaway plans.
And more fan protests are expected to take place before tonight’s home game against Arteta’s former club Everton.
He added: “Some damage has been done, that’s for sure and this has put us on the back foot again after all the territory we have made in the last months.
“There are always terrible consequences when you make a decision that is not done in the right way and we are going to have to accept any that are there.
“I found out about the Super League just before the news was leaked and then everything was completely out of control before a big tsunami came out and basically killed it.
“But I would like everyone to understand that the players weren’t involved in it and I don’t think it’s fair for them to pay the price for this.
“I spoke with the owners and they apologised for disturbing the team and asked me to pass that message to the players.
“My role at the club is very clear. I get involved in some things and there are some people we trust and rely on, who are much better than me at doing other things.
“The people who work at this club are very intelligent and professional, so I’m sure they had the right reasons to start something.
“But it clearly didn’t work, or it wasn’t the right time, or it wasn’t done in the right way.
“And it says a lot about the people who are involved in those decisions that they stepped back straight away.
“And the way this has been handled internally has been really good.”
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