William Saliba vowed “I will be back to my best soon” following a difficult spell of form, ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Leicester City.
The defender has played an integral role in the Gunners’ Premier League title challenge this season, missing just 14 minutes, while no player has recovered possession in the defensive third on more occasions (100).
Although, the France international feels his standards have dropped in recent weeks since returning from the World Cup, where he played just 27 minutes in Les Bleus’ run to the final.
Saliba lost all 10 aerial duels he contested in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Brentford, while he struggled to cope against Erling Haaland in the defeat by Manchester City.
“I came back [from the World Cup], and I have this little period where I didn’t play my best,” he told Sky Sports.
“I know I have to work, to get back [to my levels]. I know when I play [well] and when I play [poorly]. We are lucky here, I have the coaches to help me grow.
“When you play well, it’s good, also, to know when you aren’t – Arteta tells you. He gives you advice every day – to get better.
“This is the best league in the world, there is no excuse. If I am bad, I am bad. I don’t say: ‘Yes, this is my first season in the Premier League’. I will be back to my best soon, but I have to work.”
Mikel Arteta’s side moved two points clear at the Premier League summit with a game in hand on second-place City when they twice came from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-2 last weekend.
It was a welcome boost for the Gunners, of whom questions had been asked following a three-game winless streak, but Saliba feels he and his team-mates demonstrated their credentials.
“We didn’t start well [against Villa], it was a bad first half,” he added.
“When we got into the dressing room, the boss gave us some good advice. We knew we could come back. We have a good mentality, and we never give up, and we trust each other.
“We only focus on us, not on what the people say – and I think that’s most important.“