Interview

Arteta on playing 4-4-2, leadership and the fans

Mikel Arteta was in relaxed mood when he sat down with Arsenal Media on Monday.

Our manager discussed our win against Aston Villa, the connection between the players and the supporters, Auba's fine form, the leadership in the squad and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on whether Friday night was the most complete performance of the season so far...
It probably is. The way we started, the way we played, the confidence that we showed, the rhythm, and the efficiency as well in every action, how we attacked the opponents' half as well and the goals we scored. It probably was, yes.

on lining up with a 4-4-2 formation...
We thought that they were going to play in a certain way, and we planned with the players that we thought could help the most and have good cohesion and a link between them. Then it's up to the players - they are the ones that did it.

on the connection between the players and fans and it bearing fruit now…
I was extremely pleased with that because I can now see that our supporters are starting to identify with what the team projects and that is very pleasing because at the end of the day we play for them, and you have to find the right purpose to do so. I think the players felt that connection behind them, [it wasn't just] when scoring a goal, it was right from the beginning and right to the end and if we can generate that every single time we play at the Emirates, it's very powerful for us and very difficult for the opponent.

on the youngest squad in the Premier League having that backing from the crowd...
That builds confidence in the boys. It's incredible that we are the youngest team in this league and many of the experiences they are going through, they have never experienced before. So the more positive they are, the more confidence that will build. When a player is more confident, he fulfils his potential much quicker and much better and it only generates a better atmosphere. Sometimes when you are in a good mood, you make better decisions.

08:14

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on whether there's a close bond as the squad are a similar age and growing up together...
Absolutely, the group age is a little bit closer so they are experiencing most of the same things and they talk a lot about it. Then we have the senior players that they have to lead and they have to take that role, and they are doing that in a different way. Leading is not telling someone what he needs to do, for me it is being able to transform that person and not just with words, but with facts as well. There are players now that on that pitch that they are able to transmit something and change certain behaviours and attitudes in other players. That is contagious, and for me that is leadership.

on Auba finding his best form...
I wouldn't go to the goals, again it is what Auba is transmitting on the pitch. I have never seen Auba transmit what he is doing now. Apart from the goals, the celebration when they put the ball in the net, do you see the way he runs, the purpose he has to press the ball, and when he takes it his movement, his link, how is leading the game - that is when he is changing the rest, not when he is static and then he puts the ball in the net. I prefer this Auba.

on where these improvements are coming from...
For me it is a click. It is a click. It is a combination that realising that his role has to go well beyond that. What was good, or very good, two or three years ago, with his role in this team, at this club, it is not enough. He had to take a step forward. I would say the same with Laca, look what he is transmitting, not  just doing or playing, what he is transmitting. For me that is really, really important.

on how seriously Auba and Laca take their responsibilities behind the scenes...
That is where I'm going, they lead by example and not only there but as well at the training ground. Certain things, a role they could have had three years ago in the squad, now it has changed. Human beings change themselves every six months, they have all new selves, and it's incredible so we are able to adapt very quickly and manipulate and change our minds very quickly as well. They are doing that for the benefit of the club, but for sure for the benefit of themselves.

 

 

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