arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta plans to offer his young players “all the support in the world” to revive the club’s faltering quest to qualify for the Champions League.
The Gunners were favorites to finish fourth in the Premier League just a month ago before suffering four defeats in five games.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton was the third in a row for Arteta’s men as they missed a chance to capitalize on Tottenham’s shock home loss to Brighton.
Arsenal, whose starting XI at St Mary’s consisted of nine players aged 24 or under, have another chance to level on points with Spurs when they play Chelsea on Wednesday night.
While Arteta was understandably frustrated by the untimely slump, he intends to maintain an encouraging approach rather than try to get his squad back in shape.
“We’re in the same position as we were with a game down,” said the Spaniard. “We have to play on Wednesday and we have to lift them.
“The task is big, but the opportunity is so precious that we all want to do it.
“(I will) give them all the support in the world because they need it. They’re 19, 20, 21 years old, most of them, and that’s what they need.
“We are who we are but at the end of the day you have to win the games and if you want to be there you have to define that in the boxes.”
A first-half goal from Southampton defender Jan Bednarek continued Arsenal’s miserable run.
Bukayo Saka and substitute Emile Smith Rowe each forced good saves from Saints goaltender Fraser Forster, but the visitors failed to make a breakthrough.
Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has urged the club to remain united in the fight to end their Champions League exile after another costly defeat.
Three straight defeats – including Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Southampton – since Arteta was named Premier League manager of the month in March have left them in contention for the top four.
Belgium international Sambi Lokonga remains hopeful Arsenal can reignite their luck after a frustrating trip to St Mary’s following defeats by Crystal Palace and Brighton.
“I think everyone in the dressing room knows it’s not enough for the moment, but we have to stick together and get back on track,” the 22-year-old told the club’s website.
“We have to believe, I think that’s the first thing. We have to stick together. We went through this so we can do it again.
“They (the fans) always have our back, so we have to thank them and we need them. They have to stay behind us because we’re going to turn that around.”
Despite dominating possession on the south coast and 23 shots on target, a first-half goal from Bednarek proved decisive.
With a north London derby next month, the Gunners remain three points behind Spurs and on a worse goal difference, while Saturday’s results offered encouragement for other top-four hopes Manchester United and West Ham.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/i-will-give-all-the-support-in-the-world-mikel-arteta-will-not-be-harsh-on-faltering-young-gunners-41563053.html “(I will) give all the support in the world” – Mikel Arteta won’t be harsh on struggling young Gunners