Beating United is perfect way to restore belief among Arsenal players, Arteta says
Mikel Arteta believes the New Year’s Day victory over Manchester United can fast-track the confidence and belief he is looking to instill in the Arsenal squad.
The Gunners ended a wretched run of home form with the 2-0 win - their first league win at Emirates Stadium since early October. It was only their second win in 16 games in all competitions.
It was also the first win under the new boss at the third time of asking, but the impact could be huge, according to the Spaniard.
“That’s going to give them a massive lift in terms of confidence that they can play against any opponent in this league and be better than them, and dominate them and compete against them,” Arteta said.
“It’s something that for many weeks they haven’t been doing together and this will generate more belief.
“I am very pleased with the performance and even more pleased with the result.
“There were things I demanded and wanted to see on that pitch that actually happened today.
“I said to the players: ‘It’s up to you – [it's about] your body language, your behaviour, what you are able to transmit to them [the fans]. They are going to buy into it. If it’s positive they are willing to help you.
“They are here to support you, they’re our fans and they want to see you perform like we did today. The challenge now is to maintain it.”
The Spaniard admits the level of intensity he wants from his team is difficult to sustain over 90 minutes and there were some signs of fatigue during a slightly nervy second half as the Gunners worked to hold on to their two goal advantage. But there was no late drama this time as there was against Chelsea a few days earlier.
“At the moment we are suffering a little bit to maintain that level of intensity that we had in the first half, but I think it will come. I think it’s part of the process,” he said.
“I really liked the resilience and I like to see them suffer together, as a team. But we have leaders. It can be contagious. I think we have some really good role models and I think we install a good culture. They just need a good platform, good support, guidance and that’s why we are here.
“They have to open that door and believe that I can bring something different to the club. If we are able to do that, day by day, it will take us a long way. They are starting to enjoy it. Hopefully it’s a start.”
Granit Xhaka had a solid game and epitomised the effort put in by the side to subdue United. Arteta says the player is likely to stay rather than leave during the transfer window, in spite of stories suggesting he might move on.
“I think he’s going to stay,” Arteta said. I really like him. I think the way we want to play. We get him on board he can be a tremendous player for the club. I like the way he is, the way he lives his profession, the way he trains – how focused he is.
“He’s willing to learn and he’s a great football player. There’s not as many with his q quality on the ball, his range of pass – I’m delighted to have him.