Mikel Arteta has claimed he has come home to Arsenal.
But the former Gunners captain also admitted he was shocked how badly things had gone wrong since he left – and now he was back to “help”.
The Spaniard, who ended his playing career in north London in 2016, got a close-up view of Arsenal ’s recent decline when Manchester City won 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday.
It was not bad enough to stop him taking the job, but the shambolic Gunners display illustrated the size of the task he is taking on.
“It wasn’t only the performance, it was the atmosphere and energy that I perceived when I was walking around the place,” said Arteta.
“That worried me a little bit.
“I understand that they are used to success and fighting for things, and at the moment it’s difficult for the fans to swallow the situation.
“Has the club lost its way? That is what I’m sensing from the outside. I would like to make some steps to start to understand the reasons why.
“They have to be so united, that the dressing room is untouchable. So let me help.”
The dismissal of Unai Emery was preceded by his removal of Granit Xhaka as captain after he had confronted angry Arsenal fans.
"The vicious circle of fan frustration and lack of confidence and leadership on the pitch has been sucking the life out of this great club.
Asked if his new players had a mentality problem, Arteta said: “I am about to find out.
“I want to start from scratch and understand the history and why this is happening.
“If we give them the tactical culture, they will be more secure when they go to the football pitch to perform.”
Arteta faces the twin tasks of building a new long-term culture and achieving short-term results for a club which needs European football.
He starts today with a tough away game at another of his former clubs, Everton , where he will be in the stands.
“It’s very clear what’s going to happen at that ground tomorrow and the challenge faced by my players,” he said. “That’s what I’ll be looking at.”
Arteta, who nearly got the Arsenal job 18 months ago, admitted he cried when he left City and Pep Guardiola.
“We had a dream to do something in England with Pep that people said was impossible to do because we would get bullied in the Premier League,” added Arteta. “But we did it in the way we believed we could.
“That’s so fulfilling and we will share that feeling for the rest of our lives.”
But he claimed the lure of his former club was too great.
“Sometimes in this industry you can have a plan, an idea or a way to develop the best possible way,” he said.
“Then the emotions get involved. When Arsenal knocks on any door, it’s difficult to say no.”
At 37, he takes the job at the same age Guardiola became Barcelona head coach.
Arteta will be the youngest boss in the Premier League – too young for some Arsenal fans.
“I completely understand their concern,” he said.
“But I will try to convince them that I’m ready, that I would not be sitting here if I honestly didn’t think I’m prepared to take this responsibility.”