Mikel Arteta was Vincent Kompany’s coach at Manchester City for three years, and the Belgian lifted two Premier League titles in that time. Now the two will come head-to-head as managers, as Kompany brings his Burnley side to Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Clarets stormed to the Championship title last season, with 101 points, but have found life considerably tougher back in the top flight. They come into this weekend’s game in 19th place, with just one win so far, though Arteta believes they have deserved more.
“Looking back on the games they have played and the results they’ve got, in some of them they merited much more than what they got,” the boss said.
“I don’t think it reflects actually what they deserved in games. But that is the difficulty of this league. Sometimes when you deserve more you don’t get it because the quality of the oppositions is so high. But the way they have transformed their way of playing, the club, and how they continue to play with the belief that they do, for me it’s remarkable.”
And he credits much of that transformation to Kompany. The former Belgium international defender left Manchester City in 2019 to become player-manager at Anderlecht and took over at Burnley at the start of last season. His first year at Turf Moor was a huge success, winning the Championship by a ten-point margin, losing only three of their 46 league matches.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Arteta said about how well Kompany has performed. "I think he was already a coach when he played. He was a leader, someone very intelligent that could navigate very different scenarios really well.
“In the dressing room and above, he understood the game really well. He spoke several languages and you could tell straight away that he was going to be a top coach. Obviously he’s a had a very strong career already. What they did last year was incredible, especially the way they did it. In this Premier League, we all have difficulties. We all have good moments and I’m really happy to see him doing what he’s doing."
Mikel – who played against Kompany for both Arsenal and Everton – added that they had discussed management while the two of them worked together at City. “Yeah we did. He was doing his badges, I was already there, and he was very connected to the coaching staff, connected to the team, and we had a lot of talks about football. You could tell straight away he would be a coach very soon.
“I think we have a lot of similarities in what we want to happen in games. I think the approach and the way we do it is probably different, hopefully it is different, but I really like what he's done.”
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