MIKEL ARTETA has warned he won’t tolerate Arsenal’s players taking their foot off the gas just because they won the FA Cup.
The Gunners boss is ready to clamp down on any signs of complacency ahead of next week’s Community Shield clash with champions Liverpool.
On the day £350,000-a-week midfielder Mesut Ozil posted an Instagram snap of himself chilling on a boat, Arteta declared: “I will be looking at the players when they come back from their holidays to see how they have reacted to winning the Cup.
“Are they going to be more relaxed because they’ve won something or they are going to say ‘OK, what we’ve done is nothing.’?”
Ozil, who was left out of Arteta’s victorious Wembley squad, last week vowed to “come back again” despite being frozen out since the lockdown return.
And Arteta added: “We need to apply ourselves better to get to the next level.
“We have to improve in a lot of areas and dominate many aspects of the game that at the moment we can’t control.
“If this is the mindset, then I’ll be very happy. Because if we make the right decisions I’m very positive that we can bring the club back to the top.”
It has been exactly eight months since Arteta was appointed to replace Unai Emery as Arsenal boss.
And he reveals that he subjected his under-performing players to a two-footed verbal assault during their first meeting.
He admits: “The first thing I did was to get everyone together, the staff and the players, and I told them what I thought of them and why it wasn’t working.
“I said to them ‘if we continue like this, it’s never going to work’.
“I explained to them what I was going to change and the first thing was get everyone working to the same agenda and with the same intentions.
“We had to create the right culture and an environment in which everyone respected each other and worked together with a passion that acknowledged how lucky we are to be where we are.
“Without that unity, we cannot drive this massive ship and the players got behind that straight away.
“Until you walk through the door and start to feel the energy and what is happening, it’s difficult to predict what impact you will make.
“I saw a lot of things that worried me in terms of the energy around the place, but within a couple of days I felt that something was changing.
“The players really got on board and changed their attitude straight away and that’s when we started to see some results.”
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Yet Arteta knows that a team which finished a distant eighth last season remains far from the finished article.
He told Arsenal Digital: “We have to be aware of our weaknesses and then we have to maximise our strengths.
“There are no limits to our potential. What we achieve depends on us, not the opponents or other clubs.”
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