Football

I want fighters, not victims, says under-fire Mikel Arteta

Under-pressure manager Mikel Arteta says the only way the struggling Gunners are going to turn their season around is if his players show they are fighters and not victims.

He is favourite to be the next English Premier League boss to be fired as the warm glow of FA Cup success last season has quickly evaporated.

Arsenal are 15th in the table and without an EPL win since Nov 1. They have accrued just two points in the last seven games and are only four points above the relegation zone.

The only respite for Arteta - appointed last December - has come in the cup competitions.

They are through to the knockout rounds of the Europa League after winning all six of their group games. Tomorrow morning (Singapore time) they face Manchester City - where Arteta cut his coaching teeth as assistant to Pep Guardiola - in the League Cup quarter-finals.

"You have two types of people - fighters and victims," said Arteta. "You need fighters and you don't want any victims.

"Victims bring excuses, victims bring negativity and they start to blame anything that is happening around them or is not going their way.

"You need people who fight, people who contribute and people who are ready to give everything to the club in this moment."

His former mentor Guardiola has also had his struggles this season, with City scoring just twice in their last three EPL matches. However, he insisted City are unlikely to sign an attacker in the January transfer window. - AFP, REUTERS

Football