'It was all a mess' - Arteta

Mikel Arteta looks on from touchline
[Getty Images]

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has spoken of the "mess" the club was in when he first took charge.

When the former captain joined in December 2019, the north London side were sitting 10th in the Premier League and playing under interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg having sacked Unai Emery in November.

He went on to lift the FA Cup trophy in his first season in charge and has since returned the side to playing Champions League football and competing for the league title.

The Arsenal role was Arteta's first as a manager having previously spent three years as an assistant coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

"You get the opportunity straight away to go to Arsenal Football Club, which is in a moment that is very complicated, very divided," he told Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague in an exclusive interview for BBC Sport.

"The energy, it's difficult to manage problems with ownership, problems with supporters. It is not a real clear identity of how the team wants to build the squad or wants to play the game and results are not going your way. I'm hearing a lot of things but I left three-and-a-half years before that and I knew it was happening.

"So I said 'listen, this is not about the quality of the player or who is going to play better as a winger or that system or that formation or that training methodology. The issue is much deeper than that. The issue is in our roots'.

"So I get everybody together in one room one day and I put the whole room down. It was all a mess.

"I said 'this is what I hear and this is the perception of you guys from the outside. So if you want me to help you, you need to put this together and then we can start to work. We're going to try to have fun and enjoy together'."