(REUTERS) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he is ready to “take the bullets” for the club’s dismal form in the English Premier League and urged his players to put everything on the line to arrest their slump.
The Gunners suffered their fourth defeat in five league matches on Sunday (Dec 13) after going down 1-0 at home to Burnley, leaving them 15th in the standings with 13 points.
The club are off to their worst start to a season in almost 40 years, leading to questions over Arteta’s future – 12 months after he replaced Unai Emery at the Emirates Stadium.
“I feel the pressure all the time. It will always exist,” he told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s home league clash against high-flying Southampton, who are fourth and just two points behind joint leaders Tottenham and Liverpool.
“We have to face it being brave, fighting and no one giving up. It’s not time to hide. It’s time to put your face and your body on the line.
“At the moment, I’m sorry but we have to take the bullets. We are not winning football matches and you have to put your chest there and (say) ‘hit me’ because you have the right.”
Arsenal are five points off the relegation zone but Arteta is confident that the tide will turn soon.
“I want to think that we are in a blip, losing football matches makes me believe that but we need to start to win,” the Spaniard added.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka was sent off against Burnley after a VAR review spotted him grabbing Ashley Westwood by the throat.
When asked if Xhaka had apologised to his teammates, the Arsenal coach said: “It’s been resolved internally and this is all I can say. He has had tough times here and he’s not the only one, there’s a lot of players that have had rocky moments.”