Unai Emery is confident that Arsenal can finish in the Premier League’s top four this season but has appeared to rule out a title challenge.
The Spanish boss is currently preparing for his second season in charge of the north London club after having taken over from Arsene Wenger in May 2018.
Emery led Arsenal to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League last term as they missed out on Champions League qualification.
The Gunners squandered their final opportunity to secure Champions League qualification when they lost 4-1 to Chelsea FC in the Europa League final back in May.
Emery is now focused on helping to guide the Gunners back into the top four for next season as the north London side look to break back into Europe’s elite club competition.
And the Gunners boss has now outlined his targets for the new campaign.
Speaking in an interview quoted by The Sun, Emery said: “We need to be realistic because the distance between City and Liverpool to us is a lot of points.
“We need to reduce that gap and be more competitive.
“And to do that we need to improve defensively without losing any of our offensive qualities.
“I think we progressed last season but it was not enough to achieve our top target of getting back into the Champions League.
“We reduced the difference with Chelsea and Tottenham and in the end we were only two and one point behind them.
“I know that is not enough but I am positive we can take further steps forward to compete with the big clubs and fight for the top four in the Premier League.”
He continued: “City and Liverpool are very strong, Chelsea have kept all of their players and Tottenham is growing up and making big signings.
“Manchester United were behind us last year but they have a lot of potential as a team and have bought some expensive players.
“So we need to believe in our process and in our players.
“We have very good young players and now we want to sign two or three more to help us on our way.”
Arsenal have not won the Premier League title since their famous unbeaten triumph in the 2003-04 campaign.
The Gunners have so far only signed Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli this summer as they look to add to their squad ahead of the new campaign.