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Arsenal boss told players to win back the fans

Arteta’s message ahead of 2-0 win over Man United on New Year’s Day

03 January, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta: ‘Thank you so much to the fans – when they are right behind them you can tell that the confidence, the things the players tried and the energy they had was much better’

MIKEL Arteta heaped praise on the Arsenal fans after winning his first match as a manager.

Goals from Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos earned the Gunners a 2-0 victory over Manchester United on New Year’s Day at a lively Emirates Stadium.

It was only Arsenal’s second win in 16 games – and their first over a top-half team in the Premier League this season.

Arteta said it would give his players the confidence to tackle the top sides in the division, especially now that they have the supporters back behind them.

He said: “I am very pleased with the performance. I’m even more pleased with getting the result that we needed.

“A lot of the things I demanded and I wanted to see on the pitch actually happened today.

“I said to the players, ‘it’s up to you – your body language, your behaviours, what you’re able to transmit to the fans, they’re going to buy into. If it’s negative, they will be negative, if it’s positive they are willing to help you guys. They are here to support you and they want to see their team perform like they did today’.

“Thank you so much to the fans – when they are right behind them you can tell that the confidence, the things the players tried and the energy they had was much better. The challenge now is to maintain it.”

Despite one of the most disastrous runs in the club’s history, the win over United saw Arsenal move to within three points of the top six.

Arteta is demanding a high-intensity approach from his players. But the 37-year-old has warned it will take its toll as matches wear on – and they will have to become fitter with his training methods to make it work.

He added: “At the moment we are suffering a little bit to maintain the level of intensity we are playing in the first half. I think it will come.

“It is part of the process and the way we train, but at the moment we don’t have much time to do so.

“But, as well, I really liked the resilience. And I liked to see them suffer together. When they had to defend deeper I wanted to see that reaction.

“Instead of getting annoyed with each other when someone was giving the ball away, it was all positive reactions and everyone was tracking back.”

That new-found team spirit will be tested again on Monday night when Arsenal entertain Leeds in the third round of the FA Cup. It’s a timely tie that comes just days after the Gunners cut short Eddie Nketiah’s loan spell with the Championship leaders, with Arteta keen to work with the young striker.

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