Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits he’s still working to heal the wounds exposed at the club from Unai Emery’s era.
The Spaniard replaced Emery as Gunners boss ten months ago after the former Sevilla manager was sacked following a dismal start to the season.
Arteta has made a solid start at the Emirates, winning the FA Cup at the end of his first season at the club.
However, perhaps his most vital work has been in restoring faith among supporters, who turned against Emery.
Arteta inherited a toxic atmosphere at the club, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang considering their futures at the club.
But the Spaniard has worked tirelessly to mend the club and he’s admitted for the first time that he was ‘shocked’ by the disconnect between the side and the fans when he first arrived following Emery’s departure.
‘You cannot build something new [quickly], when something has been damaged and hurt badly, that you can see a big split between even our own fans and the team,’ Arteta told Arsenal’s website.
‘When you were in that stadium 10 months ago, I was shocked.
‘You have to rebuild that [bond]. In order to do that you have to build some foundations, and afterwards start a process. You have to prioritise that process at the start, and where you are going to get to.’
Arsenal entered the international break on the back of a dispiriting 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
The Gunners had beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford a week earlier but the momentum of that victory was lost with the loss to Dean Smith’s side.
Arteta’s side take on Leeds at Elland Road, with the Gunners three points off fifth and two points from 15th in the middle of the table.
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