News

Odegaard excited for amazing support in the US

Martin US tour
Martin US tour

Our US tour begins at the end of the month with a trio of matches against Premier League opposition.

We will face AFC Bournemouth in the pre-season tour at Dignity Health Sports Park in California on Wednesday, July 24 (7.30pm PDT), before taking on Manchester United at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 27 (5pm PDT) and then meeting Liverpool at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 31 (7.30pm EDT).

Buy tickets - AFC Bournemouth - July 24

Buy tickets - Manchester United - July 27

Buy tickets - Liverpool - July 31

Club captain Martin Odegaard is looking forward to the tour, having already seen the support we have out in the United States in the past.

“I’m really excited," he said. "It’s always been good going to the States. It’s always nice to see all the supporters out there and the support we have there is amazing, so it’s a great experience to travel around and meet different people and feel the togetherness we have all over the world. 

"It’s a brilliant thing to do and I’m really excited to play some big games over there as well, so it’s going to be good fun.

“It’s always nice when you travel to different parts of the world to feel that support. Sometimes we get a bit surprised to travel so far and feel that support. It’s unbelievable, so I’m looking forward to seeing the people out there. The atmosphere is always unbelievable at the games there.

“It’s really important. It’s a good chance to gain some advantage. I’ve always felt that you need a break but it’s a good chance to work on things you can’t normally work on, have some more time to recover and improve. We can work on our fitness to make sure we’re ready and strong for the beginning.”

Interview

‘We have to believe' - Arteta previews new season

Mikel Arteta has outlined his priorities for pre-season as he looks to build upon a record-breaking campaign last year.

In our extended interview, the manager reflects on last season’s title race that went right down to the wire and explains how his side can improve and go one better this time around.

Speaking during the close-season training camp in Marbella, the boss said he was proud of many aspects of the team’s performances over the past couple of years, saying the increased sense of belonging across the club and worldwide supporter base was a vital pillar of the recent improvements. 

But there was absolutely no sense that he would be resting on his laurels - quite the opposite. The challenge now, he stated, is to maintain those positive aspects that have proved so effective, while also improving the marginal differences that can ensure the team take another – hopefully decisive – step forward in 2024/25.

“We know the demands in the league and the competition we are facing,” he began, "so all the work we’re doing is to find ways to get better and to see where the margins can be for our improvement,

“That pain [from last season] is still there and I think it has to remain there, but after analysing the whole season with all the staff, the team has done a lot and probably in any other context we would have won the Premier League and that’s a big jump. But it’s not enough.”

The team broke a number of records last season - including setting new club bests for wins and goals in a Premier League season – and we also remained unbeaten in all 10 games against the rest of the traditional ‘big six’. An achievement, the boss believes, that is hugely significant and should give the players even more confidence. 

“Yeah, that was very important. First of all, to give ourselves the chance to compete for the league but as well to show the consistency, the capabilities and the quality against the top sides in the country. That we can actually beat them all in a consistent way and we can do it being dominant and deserving to win, which in my opinion is the most important thing. So that was another big stride but it’s not enough so we’re going to have to improve it again.

“The stats show a high level of quality and a high level of consistency. You’re talking about the defensive side, the attacking side, about set pieces and that’s really positive because that tells you that the team are starting to dominate many areas that are necessary to win major trophies, so we are heading in the right direction for sure.”

The club has undoubtedly made steady improvements over the past few seasons, increasing our points tally year on year since Arteta took over in December 2019. Last year was the first season we were involved in the title race on the final day since we last won the league in 2004 and the manager believes he’s seen a real shift in mentality across the board, in order to put us in a position where we are ready to win. 

“For sure and we’ve done it across the club – in every department, not only on the football side or the men’s first team, but when you look at our academy and women’s performances and men’s first team, the environment that we have created and our supporters, it’s different. It’s a different hunger and it’s a different look. 

“We’re really showing our teeth because we want to win and we know that if we want to achieve that in a consistent way and put the club in the position that we want, that’s going to be key. 

“First of all, it’s about believing, we have to believe that we are good enough to do it and I feel that belief, and the club is really hungry and we want more.”

The hard work and preparation for next season has already begun, two or three weeks ahead of the official start of pre-season. The players who were not involved at all at the Copa America or European Championships reported for warm weather training in Marbella at the end of June, and he wants to use these first few weeks to build the momentum for the rest of pre-season.

“The players who arrive first are going to set the tone for the ones that are coming back later because we have four different groups coming at different stages in pre-season and they really have to feel that.

“There’s not a lot I can tell them. They know. They know that they are really good and they were good enough to win it, but there are certain margins and certain things that sometimes are not tangible that are necessary to win. 

"For me, the best thing is when they come here on the first day and when they look at us, when they see the attitude and when they see the preparation, when they hear the words that we are using to start the preparation for this season, then they go ‘wow, this is going up a level again, so what we did last season is not going to be enough. If I want to play and I want to be competing in this team, I’m going to have to do something extra’.

“There are margins everywhere, and some of them can be tiny but can have a huge impact, but others are really big. First of all, we have to continue to do all the right things that we are doing in a consistent way, and if we can, do them a bit better. That’s the first part. Then the other one is ok, what are the other areas we can still improve and go for them and simplify everything we do in a really efficient way. 

"Some people say you have to work a little bit more efficiently, I think we are going to try to work harder and be more efficient. That’s the objective.”

Click play on the video above to see the full interview with Mikel Arteta.

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