Mikel Arteta believes he faces a tougher job at Arsenal than Arsene Wenger did when he arrived in London in 1996, although he sees evidence the Gunners are fighting for him now.
Arsenal defeated Premier League champions Liverpool 2-1 on Wednesday, but Arteta acknowledged the gap between the sides remains “enormous”.
Asked by Sky Sports to compare his brief with that of Wenger, who took over a team that had finished fifth in the previous season and won the title in his second campaign, Arteta did not shy away from the scale of the task.
“I think the context is different,” said the Spaniard, who replaced Unai Emery in December. “I think the competition in the country right now is much harder than it was before.
“Arsene did some incredible things and he brought a new philosophy, new ideas to the country, and he was very successful. I’ve done nothing yet. I have everything to do.
“We will need support, we will need belief, and we need to go in the direction, it doesn’t matter what happens.”
Arsenal trailed to Sadio Mane’s opener and only claimed the lead after uncharacteristic Liverpool errors let in Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson.
Arteta was therefore under no illusion that Arsenal are ready to compete with the Reds, explaining: “It’s massive. We only need to look at the difference between the two teams today.
“The gap is enormous. The gap in many areas we cannot improve in two months.
“But the gap in the accountability, the energy, the commitment and the fight is now equal. Before, it wasn’t like this. I’m very proud of that.
“The rest will take some time, but at least we’ve got that now. My message to the players is, with that, we can create something.”
Arteta recognises Arsenal will need to invest if they are to make up the deficit, however.
“I don’t know [if Arsenal have the necessary finance] – it’s a big concern,” he accepted. “You just have to see how [Liverpool] build those squads and it’s no magic.