Arteta: This is just the start

Peter Smith

Comment and Analysis @p_smith86

Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis on target in Arsenal victory

Last Updated: 01/01/20 11:53pm

Mikel Arteta hugs Matteo Guendouzi
Mikel Arteta hugs Matteo Guendouzi

Mikel Arteta was delighted to land his first win as Arsenal boss with a 2-0 victory over Manchester United but believes his side will only continue to improve.

Arsenal moved to within three points of the top six thanks to first-half goals from Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis on a night the Gunners had the Emirates crowd right behind them – in contrast to recent months of discord between the players and fans.

“I am very pleased with the performance. I’m even more pleased with the result that we needed,” said Arteta after Arsenal secured just their second win in 16 matches.

“A lot of the things I demanded and I wanted to see on the pitch actually happened today.

2:58
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Manchester Utd in the Premier League.
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Manchester Utd in the Premier League.

“I said to the players it’s up to you – your body language, your behaviours, what you’re able to transmit to [the fans], they’re going to buy into. If it’s negative, they will be negative, if it’s positive they are willing to help you guys.

“They are here to support you and they want to see their team perform like they did today. Thank you so much to [the fans], when they are right behind them you can tell that the confidence, the things they tried and the energy they had towards the game was much better.

“The challenge is to maintain it.”

Arsenal slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday after an impressive start to that match and were pegged back for long periods in the second half against United after dominating the first 45 minutes.

Arsenal players celebrate their win over Manchester United
Arsenal players celebrate their win over Manchester United

Arteta says the new high-intensity approach he has introduced takes its toll on the players as the match wears on – but insists the players will become fitter with his training methods.

“At the moment we are suffering a little bit to maintain the level of intensity we are playing in the first half. I think it will come. It is part of the process and the way we train – but at the moment we don’t have much time to do so.

“But, as well I really liked the resilience. And I liked to see them suffer together. When they had to defend deeper I wanted to see that reaction.

0:33
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta believes midfielder Granit Xhaka will stay and be a ‘tremendous player’ for the club, amid links over a move to Hertha Berlin.
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta believes midfielder Granit Xhaka will stay and be a ‘tremendous player’ for the club, amid links over a move to Hertha Berlin.

“Instead of getting annoyed with each other when someone was giving the ball away it was all positive reactions and everyone was tracking back.”

Arteta believes the victory – Arsenal’s first win over a top-half team in the Premier League this season – will give his players confidence and belief they deserve to compete with the top sides in the division.

“At the end we are getting judged by results and that is going to give them a massive lift in terms of confidence, that they can play against any opponent in this league and be better than them and dominate them and compete against them,” said Arteta.

“That’s something that, in my opinion, for many weeks they haven’t been doing together.

“But what we’re trying to create is not just words but what’s actually happening and you can see happening which generates more belief and that’s only about winning games.

“I said to them without you guys I won’t be able to do it. You have to open that door and believe that I can bring something different to the club.

“We need all the staff to believe as well and if they are able to do that day by day – and there will be ups and downs – but they buy into this. That’s my feeling.

“They want to do it and are starting to enjoy. Hopefully it’s a start.”

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Source : Sky Sports