Mikel Arteta admits he was indeed angry with his players against Leeds and highlighted the ‘fitness issues’ people are blaming for Arsenal dropping off late in games has nothing to do with fitness at all.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Leeds on Monday night, Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson both said that Mikel Arteta had been angry at half-time and it’s something he’s admitted after the game before giving a very clear explanation as to why.
Arsenal were not good in the first half against Leeds United. Caught between Unai Emery’s conditioning and the new style Arteta is trying to enforce, it did not go well and we looked leggy to the point where I laughed at halftime how people were expecting Arteta to undo all that in 10 minutes.
Yet he did. Well, you know what I mean.
“I wasn’t happy at all,” Arteta said at the post-match press conference. “The first 30 to 35 minutes, how we started the game, how we approached the game.
“I tried to convince them before the game of what to expect of that team. They battered every team in the Championship, every three days. The way they play makes it really difficult and uncomfortable. Everything is man-to-man around the pitch, so it becomes a transition game where everything is duels, everything is 50:50.
“If you’re not ready for that game you get exposed and you get done. Obviously, the second half was a different story.”
He was then asked if he had indeed been angry in the dressing room at half-time. “When I see what I don’t want to see – and I’m not talking about technically and tactically – what I expect from them and the standards that we wanted to set in certain areas, I cannot be happy and I have to let them know. I am learning every day about them.
“How they react when they lose, what they need when they lose, what they need when they win as well. And as well, how can they react when they want to. Because before that, obviously everybody said it was a physical issue that we could not sustain a certain rhythm or intensity throughout the game.
“Look how they finished tonight. After 94 minutes they kept going and this is here and this is there. This is what they have to understand as a team.”
Arsenal will now travel to Bournemouth for their next round tie in the FA Cup with the game expected to take place between