Mikel Arteta says he wants “unity and stability” if Arsenal is to return to the Premier League’s top tier after a disappointing season.
Arsenal, who are currently in ninth position in the table, seem to be on the verge of missing out on European competition for the first time in 25 years.
Arteta was asked at his pre-match press conference whether he was bothered by criticism from former players following his side’s Europa League semifinal exit last week.
“I think everybody is entitled to give their opinions and when they have the chance to do that, they have to say what they feel,” he said.
“It’s nothing for me to say. I cannot control that. If you ask me what I would like to have around the team and around everything that is related to the football club, is that we have the unity and stability to work. But if it’s not the case, it’s nothing that I can do.”
Fans have staged demonstrations against the club’s US owner, Stan Kroenke, over the club’s participation in the doomed European Super League and the team’s disappointing performance.
Arteta, who captained Arsenal under long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, believes that improving on the pitch is the only way to change fans’ minds.
“The only thing I can be judged on is do I create the necessary environment for a top, elite team to compete at the higher level and get everybody in the condition to do their best?” he asked.
“And after that, do I get the best out of the players that I have? The maximum, whatever the level is, do I get the best out of that? This is how I judge myself and at the end, in the outside world, how I am going to be judged is just with results, nothing else.”
Despite their poor performance, the Spaniard believes the club has made strides in many ways, promising a busy end to the season.
“There are so many things to do because we already have a lot of players on loan and a lot of players with contracts still that we need to sort,” he added.
“It will depend what happens with a lot of those players and what we are able to recruit to improve the team, that is going to determine where we are.”