There was plenty for Mikel Arteta to smile about after our latest victory in the Dubai Super Cup on Tuesday.
The manager oversaw a 2-1 win over AC Milan to ensure we took the trophy with a maximum of eight points from the two games – including bonus points for triumphing in both penalty shootouts as well.
And there was further good news as Ben White and Thomas Partey became the first players to get back to action with us after being in Qatar for the World Cup.
Mikel said he was delighted with how they have reintegrated into the group.
“It’s been very good, especially their reaction psychologically,” he said. “The players were all willing to come and stay in Dubai. Granit is here already around the place and is desperate to start playing so it’s been really good.
“It happens in the summer as well when there are Euros or World Cups. You know you get players all the time coming at different stages and we have to adapt. We knew it, we tried to plan it and hopefully we can have the rest of them very soon.”
The win over AC Milan marked the end of a ten-day training camp in Dubai, designed to get the team back up to speed for the resumption of the Premier League on Boxing Day against West Ham.
A host of youth team players bolstered the traveling squad, and Mikel was delighted with the work the players go through in Dubai.
“This win is a good way to close the stage and the camp. I think they've been absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much as well the boys they've been really helpful.
“The under-18s, the 16s and 21s maintained the level and the standards that we need. I think we competed really well against a really, really good side.”
“It was a great test for us against a very different opponent to Lyon that have put a lot of questions for us. I think overall we deserved to win the game and put in a really strong performance.”
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