If you sleep four hours happy, you're going to sleep better than eight hours sad.
It’s like I said in that interview, and I stand by it. The result of people when they are happy is 10 times better than when they are sad. For me, you have to have fun not just in football, but in life. That’s the most important thing – and Mikel Arteta has brought that back.
Working with Mikel has been great since the first day. He's always working straight to the point and he has already shown us his ideas, his goals. He wants to try to bring the shine back to this club with a winning mentality and by working hard every single day.
He's trying to do everything as well as possible to achieve that. For me, personally, I'm enjoying it a lot. I came from clubs that would always fight for titles and would always fight to win, and Mikel knows that as well. He had an opportunity to go to amazing places and different clubs, and he worked a lot as an assistant coach for Pep Guardiola. He learned in the best way, so I think for sure he will be one of the best soon.
His philosophy is the way I love to play football and that makes it easy for me to adapt to. We try to dominate and control possession, and try winning the ball back as soon as we lose it. This is the idea I really love when I play football. I think Mikel is just trying to organise us every single day in the details, to make the quality of our work even better.
It doesn’t matter if it’s his first job as a coach or not. He knows football, he knows inside the pitch. He prepared himself outside the pitch and he’s ready for that. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many, many coaches already in my career and I think he’s more than prepared to do the job. The enthusiasm comes naturally when you love something. He loves football, he loves to work, so this enthusiasm is contagious for everybody.
What Mikel is trying to build is something big and I really believe in his philosophy, I really believe we can do something big this year and in the future, so I’m really, really happy because we have our way to go.
For me, it’s always great to have opportunities in life. It’s special because now I’m trying to write a new chapter in my career. When I came to Arsenal, it was to try and do that and to write something new without fear or anything. Just not to be in this comfort zone and try to improve myself, even after many, many years as a professional. I’m trying to do my best every single day, as if I was young and new to the game. Every single week I’m trying to do my best and enjoying every single moment.
I believe in the smile, I believe in the fun and I believe in these kind of things – and this is part of football. This is part of the life, but not just that is the main thing. I think you have to work hard and you have to understand what we represent, you have to understand the philosophy of the club, you have to understand and to know the history of the club, you have to understand how everybody is involved with the club and the people here inside the club, outside the club, the supporters everywhere in the world.
When you know why you are doing something, I think you start to understand the way and the how of working in this way. Mikel knows that, he has tried to help us and give us the direction and how to live life, how to be inside the club and for me, this is so important to have success in life.
I'm just happy to have someone like Mikel as my coach because I can still learn and I know he can teach me many things. I think you always have to be humble and understand we can always improve ourselves. Football never stops improving, or changing, or to bring new things. Now even more, every year it’s a bit different.
If you don’t have this kind of desire to learn, you’re going to be stuck in the past and it’s going to pass you. I just try to understand where I am and to forget, in the best way, what I’ve already done in football and try to understand that I’m still with a big opportunity because I’m in a big club, with a big opportunity to continue to do big things.
I just try to do my best and try to be a positive example for everybody. I want to try to make everybody believe that everything is possible if you really want it, if you pay the price, if you make the sacrifice. Every single day you need to wake up and say, 'This is my goal, this is how I have to do that, this is how I have to achieve that'. You need to understand that and start to do it.
I still have the hunger to win trophies. I want to win trophies with Arsenal. I want to make this club shine again. This is my goal and I'm not going to stop until I'm doing that. It's up to me to continue to have this hunger every single day.
For me, the first thing behind a title-winning team is belief. If you don't believe and you don't dream, or believe in that dream, it's impossible to do it. The first thing is you have to dream and then after that you have to study how to do it. Then you need to understand that during this process, you're going to have some good moments and some difficult moments, but you can never change your mind.
That’s why I think we can achieve titles this season. We have the opportunity in the Europa League and the FA Cup, and then we want to fight until the end for the top four. We want to start to create an identity for this club. Everybody's going to understand that it's going to be hard to play against us.
After all, if you don't believe, you will never achieve anything in your life.
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