‘Arsenal have to lose in order to learn’ – Bellerin says ‘new identity’ won’t happen ‘overnight’

Hector Bellerin Sadio Mane Arsenal Liverpool 2020-21
The Spanish defender is encouraged by the progress being made under Mikel Arteta and accepts that the odd setback is going to be suffered

Hector Bellerin believes Arsenal need to suffer losses in order to learn, with the “new identity” being pieced together by Mikel Arteta not about to fall into place “overnight”.

The Gunners have been making positive progress under Arteta as FA Cup and Community Shield successes have been savoured, while two Premier League victories and a place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup have been secured in 2020-21.

Momentum was halted somewhat by a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Monday, showing how far the north London outfit still have to go, but Bellerin sees plenty of cause for optimism.

He told the Gunners’ official website after coming unstuck at Anfield: “I think we are working really, really well.

“I think when you build a new identity, a new way of playing football, it's not something that happens overnight. It's something that takes a lot of time, it takes losses, it takes wins, it takes a lot of learning.

“We've got new players that have come in this season and they need to get used to the system. So there's many things but I think we can say that the fight that we put out [against Liverpool], in that sense I'm very proud of the boys and we'll look forward to the next game playing here.

“We know we're working really, really well so we're not going to let this affect us.”

Arsenal will be back on Merseyside for their next outing on Thursday, when they face Liverpool again with a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup up for grabs.

Bellerin could figure once more in that contest, with the Spain international right-back still easing his way back to full match sharpness on the back of a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in 2019.

He added: “Yeah, I feel that coming back from my long-term injury was very difficult for me.

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“I felt like once I was back, my knee felt okay but really my body in general wasn't in the same place as it was pre-injury and I felt during lockdown I had the chance to focus on myself and do the dirty work, as you'd say.

“I've come back from it way stronger, I kept working through the summer and now I feel like I'm back to how I felt two minutes before that injury.

“So, for me it feels good. But the most important thing is that the team is playing better and better every day and that's what makes me happy.”