Mikel Arteta has challenged Arsenal to improve and show they are the real deal again next season.
Arsenal had been top of the Premier League for 248 days before a run of two wins in eight fixtures during the closing weeks of the season saw their title quest end on the penultimate weekend.
Finishing as runners-up behind City means Champions League football will return to the Emirates for the first time since 2017 and, while Arteta was delighted to achieve their initial goal this season, he is well aware of the work required to kick on this summer.
“We wanted to bring the club back to the Champions League, that was the main target,” he said.
💬 "I think together we have reconnected with the soul of our football club, which is our people, our supporters."
The boss pays tribute to our incredible Gooners 👇
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 28, 2023
“That was obviously a big demand in the summer before we did certain things and before we managed to keep some of our players.
“Then the journey started and day by day, you start to have a feeling that the team is moving in the right direction and the energy and spirit is really good. Then you start to generate some belief.
“We didn’t expect to finish where we are. I think it’s the third best record in the club, with the history of the club, the most wins ever.
“It’s a lot but it’s still not enough to win it. We understand where the level is. If we want to be the real deal, we can’t be happy with what we have, and we have to be next season much better.
“I think we have some great foundations, that is true but in sport you have to prove it again.
“You have to be back in the first day of pre-season and look at each other and I don’t want to see any complacency or, ‘we’ve done really well and its OK’.
“We are going to have to be much better. It will be a challenging season but a season with plenty of opportunities and one of those opportunities is to be consistent, to do it again and be better. This is what we have to demand from each other.”
Jesus’ second-half header ensured he finished his debut campaign for the Gunners with 11 goals and he is excited about the direction the club are heading.
He told the official club website: “It was good. Unfortunately, we didn’t win a trophy which was our target, but I think we had a good season, very good.
“We are building a good atmosphere from inside and outside, the fans coming with us always supporting, pushing us.
“I am so excited (for next season). I was a little bit unlucky about my injury, I missed a big part of the season but my mentality has always been my fitness and then to help my team, so next my main target is to be fit all season and help my team.”
There remains a large degree of uncertainty for Wolves ahead of next season with boss Julen Lopetegui revealing Joao Moutinho, Adama Traore and Diego Costa could leave on free transfers due to the club’s financial problems.
“This is a problem. You have players that you want to re-sign but you can’t because it is like a new signing in the financial terms,” the Spaniard explained.
“I am not a financial adviser, I am a coach. We will see.
“I know the sporting directors, they have to work very, very hard these five months and they have different targets for the squad but to execute any target, you need to know how much money you have. If not, it is impossible.”