Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta talks life at the club and the importance of the fans in new interview

Mikel Arteta opens up to Sky Sports on his career so far as Arsenal manager

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta talks life at the club and the importance of the fans in new interview

Three years of progression for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. CREDIT: Jacques Feeney/OFFSIDE

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has lifted the lid on his start to his managerial career at the club just a few days after the third anniversary of his joining.

The Spaniard spoke to Jamie Carragher for Sky Sports, opening up about his thoughts on his progress at the club as well as an insight of his first days in North London.

When Arteta took over at Arsenal in December of 2019, the club were in poor form and ended up finishing eighth in the league when May came around. Arteta took the reins from interim coach Freddie Ljungberg following Unai Emery’s dismissal.

At the time Arteta was working under Pep Guardiola at City, the Spaniard admitted that before signing with the Gunners, a return to Arsenal was on his radar.

“I was really attached to Arsenal. I could see there was a role that I could fulfil, but again, it was building many years before with Pep. I thought that was the right step for me.”

The Arsenal boss went on to disclose the struggles he encountered when first joining the club, and the importance of having the support of those around him at the club.

“The club was in a really difficult place. Then you see the people sitting around you - the owners, Edu, Vinai were involved - so convinced that you are the right person. I said, ‘Okay, I might have to believe that I am’”

It was a difficult start for Arteta, however it didn’t take long for the Spaniard to start showing his quality as a boss and the attractive style of football that came with his coaching style and desire to achieve at Arsenal.

In his debut season at the club, Arteta delivered the FA Cup title, beating London rivals Chelsea in the final at Wembley. It was a less than normal final with no fans in attendance, however the Spaniard stressed the importance of that win in 2020.

“After two months in the job, Covid hit and we had to stop everything, so to generate any connection and cohesion and atmosphere around the players, it was extremely difficult, but winning trophies, I think it gathers everyone together.”

When Arteta joined, Arsenal had been through a rough spell concluding with the sacking of Unai Emery. The club were miles away from competing with the ‘big six’ and fan cohesion was at its lowest with conflicting opinions and what seemed to be fans falling out of love with the game Arsenal were playing.

When quizzed on the importance of the fans’ backing, Arteta mentioned his desire to change the negative ambience at the Emirates and around the club in general.

“People are proud, passionate, want to fight and have the back of the club no matter what. It was too depressive, too critical, too much anger there. Changing that culture & environment and bringing light to the club is beautiful.”

It’s clear to see just how much this has developed since his hiring, with tickets increasingly difficult to purchase and fans making the Emirates a difficult place to visit.

Arsenal are unbeaten at home so far this season, with attendances at a high and the stadium bouncing on a weekly basis.

There’s a long way to go yet this season, however sitting proudly at the top of the table, five points clear of Manchester City, Arteta can be proud of his accomplishments in building a passionate and talented squad, matched with an equally as passionate fan base.

The Spaniard revealed his side are ‘ahead’, when it came to his plans that he laid down when first being named as the boss.

“I had a really clear plan, five different phases for the club. Where we are comparing to the rest of the teams. The timeline and everything we have to hit every phase. We are ahead.”

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