Arsenal struggles were ‘worst time of my career’ admits Willian, who tips Mikel Arteta to become ‘one of the best managers in the world’
Willian has admitted his first months at Arsenal were the ‘worst time’ of his career.
The Brazilian joined the Gunners on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, securing a lucrative three-year deal to remain in London.
And he made an instant impact on his debut with two assists, as Mikel Arteta’s men breezed to victory over Premier League strugglers Fulham in a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage.
But what preceded that was a period of unprecedented struggle for the 32-year-old, contributing a single assist in just 24 matches.
Things have picked up for Willian in recent times, recording four assists in his last five outings, and looks to have turned a corner in his Gunners career.
“It really was a very difficult start, apart from that first game against Fulham, where I had a good performance [setting up two of the three goals in a 3-0 win], I managed to make a good game,” Willian told ESPN Brazil.
“Even after that game there were some games that we won, I even had a good game, but then we ended up getting a bad streak.
“I also got a bad streak and I think my worst professional time to date, since I went up at Corinthians and was sold to Ukraine, then I arrived at Chelsea, without a doubt.
“This phase that passed now was the worst time that I think I lived as a professional.
“Of course, when you live in a difficult moment, you get really upset and try to find solutions, a way to improve, try to help the team.
“That’s what I’ve been doing all this time, I never stopped training, to work, to dedicate myself as much as possible.
“It took a little while to leave, but lately in the last games I’ve been playing well again, standing out with assists, playing well. So I’m happy to be back to find my good football.”
A topsy-turvy campaign sees Arsenal currently lying ninth in the English top flight, while their bid to retain the FA Cup came to a premature end in the fourth round against Southampton.
The Europa League is their only chance of silverware this season, but Willian remains optimistic the club is on the right track to be successful under Arteta in the coming years.
“I think it has the potential to be a great project, it’s a great club, it’s in the hands of a good manager, he has everything to become one of the best managers in the world,” Willian added.
“Arsenal has everything to become a powerhouse again, to fight for titles, to play in the Champions League again, that’s what we players want.
“Arteta is doing a great job, he is always looking for the players in the best possible way, giving them ideas, guiding them, showing them what he wants. Arsenal is in good hands.”