Mikel Arteta has admitted that he did not join Arsenal simply to compete for a spot in the top four and insists that the Gunners can, and are, aiming higher.
After a disasterous start to the season, Arsenal find themselves on a run of six wins and two draws in their last eight games and they can leapfrog Liverpool into fourth place with a victory at Anfield on Saturday.
Instead of tempering expectations on his side, Arteta confessed that he is loving the extra pressure and he urged his players to use it as motivation to aim even higher.
"For me, this is positive. It means there is excitement and they want to push us," Arteta said of the talk of a top-four spot. "This club is about being the best, not about being fourth.
"So that mentality and drive is because of our history. That history has to be present all the time, trying to achieve the biggest targets.
"If not, you don't have the mentality to play for this club. Whether we can achieve it or not, we will see. But the level of expectation has to be the highest."
Arteta went on to admit that he hopes to use his side's upcoming run of fixtures as evidence of improvement in comparison to last season. In 2020/21, Arsenal returned from the November international break and embarked on a run of four defeats and two draws which saw them tumble towards the relegation zone.
"Things were different," Arteta said of his side's form last year. "But what we want is that positive mindset all the time."
Arsenal's chances of victory were boosted recently by the news that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is available for contention.
The 32-year-old missed Gabon's final international fixture and was rumoured to have picked up an injury, but he has been training with the team and is expected to feature.
Source : 90min