Mikel - ‘Together we’re a real force’

Mikel Arteta believes the connection between the team and the supporters ‘has gone to a different level’ after the Emirates Stadium faithful witnessed a Premier League classic on Sunday.

The manager was instrumental in the formation of a pre-match hype video, that was shared on club channels and shown on the big screens inside the stadium before the game, and he said the atmosphere created by the supporters played a huge part in the victory.

“It’s a massive win - a beautiful day,” the boss said afterwards. “We needed a huge performance from the players. I think they delivered that; they’ve put their heart and soul in every ball.

“They did a lot of very good things to control and dominate this team, and then we needed our people as well at their best. Tonight, I think we’ve gone to a different level of what we’ve shown this season. We demanded that, we tried to produce a video to let them know how important they are and how important they needed to be. And when we do that together, we’re a real force.

“Thank you so much, because it made the team feel and behave in a way that’s different because the energy that they bring is just amazing.

“The level that the Liverpool team has, the coaches and the players is amazing. It’s unbelievable what they demand of you in every ball, in every phase of play, in every style of play, they are there. You’re not ready? They are going to punish you. And it’s very demanding physically, but as well the mental energy and focus that you need. I knew that we were going to need them [the supporters], and the players were the same. I think I ran an extra kilometre or two because of these guys out there! Thank you so much.”

The manager also praised the mental resources of his team, to overcome the huge disappointment of conceding a goal, right on the stroke of half-time, after a dominant first-half display. 

“That was really painful,” he admitted. “I could feel the disappointment, I could feel a little bit that they would start to feel sorry for themselves. ‘It’s not fair that this happened again’. I said, ‘Guys, if we feel sorry [for ourselves], they’re going to punish us. So turn around, it’s an experience. Okay, we have been able to do that for 45 minutes, we can do it again, and we’re going to suffer in certain stages in the second half, how we’re going to navigate through that to win it.’ They were incredible.”

He finished by talking about his celebrations on the touchline, following Leandro Trossard’s late goal that sealed the win, at the start of seven minutes’ injury-time.

“You can see that I can still sprint!” he smiled. “I realise I was going to get booked so I started to turn around immediately because I want to be next to the team.

“It was an incredible game, one that I will remember especially for the way it happened and for the emotions that we felt during the game. I’m going to have a beautiful dinner tonight.”

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