Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva has given his verdict on Mikel Arteta’s “surprising” time as manager.
The Gunners boss is looking to get his side back in Premier League form, having failed to secure a win in their last three games.
And they face a tough prospect next with a trip to league leaders and north London rivals Tottenham.
Arteta has been in charge at the Emirates for nearly a year, recording a win rate of 55.56 per-cent from 45 games.
But Silva, who was part of the Arsenal “Invincibles” squad that won the club’s last league title in 2004, had admitted he was surprised at the Spaniard’s appointment.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Tottenham v Arsenal, the Gunners legend said: “I don't think I was the only one who was surprised when Arsenal appointed Mikel Arteta.
“After Arsene Wenger, they tried Unai Emery and then decided to change when that didn't work out. From outside we expected someone with more experience in the job.
“Someone who has been in the position before. It was a surprise, of course, for most of us.”
But Silva went on to admit that he has been impressed with Arteta’s methods from the sidelines.
The Brazilian added: “But his approach has been good. When I see him speak, I really like the way he talks about the club, the team and his ideas.
“He's very clear and very honest, and that's important, because you're in one of the toughest jobs in the world. You must be very confident and have a strong mentality to be in that position.
“I think you have to trust his project. You made the decision to appoint the guy. I believe they interviewed other managers and decided to go for Arteta – so if you change your mind now just because results haven't been the best so far this season and he hasn't had instant success in the league, then you run the risk of being back at square one and having to start all over again.”
Gilberto also sent a message to frustrated Gunners fans, continuing: “I believe Arsenal need to give Arteta time. This is his first full season in charge of the football club.
“Results haven't been the best, we know that. But that's not only because of him. It's time for the players to stand up. Stand up and realise which club they are playing for, who they're representing. It's time for them to pull together motivate each other.
“Sometimes it's not about if you play bad, it's about what you leave on the field, and the desire you must have. Run for your teammates. Fight for your team.
“It's that fighting spirit which Arsenal needs now from everybody at the club in order to turn results around.
“I’m not saying there's no fighting spirit there already, but what they've been doing has not been enough in order for them to get results. They need to put more in.”
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