Arteta – The fans are playing the game with us

It’s become a familiar refrain from the manager after recent games, but once again on Saturday Mikel Arteta was quick to acknowledge the role of the Emirates faithful in the 3-1 win over Manchester United.

The boss spoke in his pre-match press conference about the importance of the supporters during the run-in, and after the game he said the atmosphere was a big factor in the crucial victory.

“Our people again, the atmosphere they created today, thank you so, so much to all of them to come and help the team,” he said after the game.

“Because today, after two days of recovery after Stamford Bridge, the players weren’t at their best physically to do it, and that energy was crucial in my opinion to what happened.”

A fans group, Ashburton Army, arranged a tifo display before kick-off, and Arteta said such acts are making a difference.

“It’s the initiatives they are taking, all the atmosphere was outside the stadium early before the match. The way they support the team, even when a plyer makes a mistake they got right behind them. They are playing the game with us and that completely changes our ability and our potential in my opinion.”

Arteta also reserved special praise for Granit Xhaka, whose first goal of the season gave us breathing room again in the second half.

“It’s the maturity that he is showing,” he added. “It started with the interview he made a few days ago, it’s the initiative that he takes in the games.

“The whole moral that he is in the dressing room and how he handles his profession. I’m so happy for him because he deserved a moment like that today in front of the fans.”

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