Mikel Arteta claimed management is “a much harder job than playing” as he opened up on his confusion at Arsenal’s poor form this season.
He hung up his boots in 2016 and became Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City before he took the Gunners job last year.
The Spaniard enjoyed a fine start to life in the Arsenal hot seat, but things have taken a drastic turn for the worse since last summer’s FA Cup triumph.
And Arteta has been left with a “big headache” trying to understand the reason for the loss of form this campaign.
“Have I had sleepless nights? Yes, it is a 24/7 job,” said Arteta. “It is a much harder job than playing. There are a lot of external things as well, very challenging.
“A lot of issues and then when results hit you like that you can sometimes not find the right reasons to understand why we are losing football matches, when we produce what we produce. It is a big headache.
“But as well it is the beauty of this game, to find ways of doing things in a different way.
“My responsibility is to motivate the players, to keep them united, to keep the team spirit alive, even when you are not winning matches.
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“That is not an easy thing to do and requires a lot of energy and sometimes when you are frustrated and sad, you have to find time somewhere to deal with that.
“My way has been with my family and all the people that are here with me at the club, the board, Edu, they have all been super supportive and that has helped me a lot.”
Arteta is well aware the decisions he makes have a knock-on effect on the moods of all of Arsenal’s employees.
He added: “I always say you have 70 hearts in the training ground and stadium that you have to look after every day.
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“Every decision you make has an impact on their lives, their mood and the next day. So you are very aware of that and you get attached emotionally to this football club.
“That makes the emotion even bigger and stronger, and that will drain you energy-wise.”
Despite his admission over the toll management has taken on him, Arteta spoke of his “love” for his job.
“I have probably adapted much more than I thought I would when I took the team,” he said.
“First of all I had to analyse really well what was happening, what we can and cannot do.
“There are certain things that are much better for the qualities of the players we have and other things that probably we are not prepared to do yet.
“We have to adapt because at the end of the day we have to make life as simple, as clear and as efficient as possible for our players when they go onto that pitch.
“I question myself every day. Even when you win there are always things going on. But I have to say I love it. It was my decision to be here and I couldn’t be any prouder.”
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