Mikel Arteta defends Arsenal's owners as fans turn up the heat, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Mikel Arteta defends Arsenal's owners as fans turn up the heat

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta leapt to the defence of the club's money men, after fans flew a banner over Villa Park saying "Back Arteta, Kroenke Out" yesterday morning (Singapore time).

A 1-0 defeat by relegation battlers Aston Villa left Arsenal down in 10th place in the English Premier League and facing their worst finish since 1995 when they were 12th.

While there have been encouraging signs of progress since former skipper Arteta took over in December, not least back-to-back wins last week over Liverpool in the league and Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals, the need for strengthening the squad is obvious if Arsenal are to challenge for the top four.

American billionaire owner Stan Kroenke has come under fire from Arsenal fans for a lack of adventure in the transfer market.

"I have full support from the Kroenkes, from the board, from the sporting director," Arteta told a news conference. "We are putting a very strong plan together to try to do as much as we can in the shortest period.

"At the end of the day, the league table doesn't lie and we know the gap we have to fill in. We are on board trying to do everything together."

Arteta was asked whether comments he made after the win over Liverpool had prompted the plane stunt. After that game, he said it was a "concern" whether or not he would be given sufficient transfer funds to strengthen.

"I don't know but, if that's the impression, it's not what I wanted to do," the Spaniard said. "I wanted to emphasise - and I'd do it again - we need to improve in many areas."

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka slammed the team's attitude after the defeat confirmed that they will be finishing outside the top six for the first time in 25 years.

"It's not good enough and you can't play with this mentality," he told the club's website.

"Now we have to win the FA Cup and we have more pressure. But we will do everything to win the FA Cup now." - REUTERS