Mikel Arteta has conceded that he and the coaching staff at Arsenal should take some of the blame for not getting the best out of Willian this season.
The Brazilian finally scored his first Arsenal goal on Sunday as they beat West Brom 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium to end a disappointing week on a high.
The Gunners were dumped out of the Europa League by former boss Unai Emery on Thursday with Villarreal winning 2-1 on aggregate – but the win over the Baggies provided some slight relief.
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Willian was signed on a free transfer from Chelsea in the summer after a good season at Stamford Bridge – but he has only managed one goal and five assists in 25 matches for Arsenal this term.
And Arteta regrets not “get the best out of” Willian this season as he knows he has the ability to be one of their best players.
“Willi, we have to [demand high standards] because he’s done it in the past and we have to demand it much more,” Arteta told BT Sport.. “He’s done it for many years and achieved big things in the game. Somehow this season we haven’t managed to get the best out of him.
“It’s true that he had some spells that we could see highlights of things he can do and today was a good example of that.”
Goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe had Arsenal 2-0 up before Matheus Pereira reduced the arrears with a memorable strike.
However, Willian’s late goal sealed the victory for the Gunners and Arteta was pleased to put the Villarreal result behind them.
Arteta added: “It is always the best way to put a remedy to the pain that we had – to win the game, to score the three beautiful goals that we have done.
“We created so many more chances and, as well, I think when we conceded the goal we looked nervy for a period – but overall, not going through to the final, it is always very important to win.
“I think we have a huge responsibility to win every game that we play when we represent this football club.
“And as well, if anybody can question anything – our level, our ability, whatever it is – they can, but our attitude is a non-negotiable and right up to the end we have to try win our matches and see what happens.”
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