Mikel Arteta was in bullish form as he spoke to the press after his first win as Arsenal head coach which was just the small matter of beating Manchester United.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Given how bad Arsenal have been all season, few expected to see an immediate impact from a man with no first-team head coach experience.

But within two weeks, Mikel Arteta has managed to get through to the players, get them to buy into his ideas, and transformed their attitude, body language, desire and, on the evidence of the display against Manchester United on Wednesday night, their ability to control a football.

Speaking at his press conference following the game, Arteta was engaging, informative and revealing.

You can watch the press conference in the video below or read it in the transcript beneath that.

Mikel Arteta on the performance…
I am very pleased with the performance, I am even more pleased with the result, which we needed. All of the things that I demanded and wanted to see on the pitch, actually happened today.

Mikel Arteta on the fans responding well to the team…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Absolutely. I said to the players, ‘it is up to you, your body language and behaviour, if you are able to transmit to them, they will buy into it. If it is negative, it is a negative [reaction from the fans], if it is positive, it is positive and they are willing to help you guys. They are here to support you.’ They are fans and they want to see their team perform like they did today. Thank you so much to them because when they are right behind [the team], you can tell the confidence and the things they tried, and the energy had towards the game you could see it was much better.

Mikel Arteta on whether the team are further ahead than he thought they would be…
Absolutely. But the challenge is to maintain it.

Mikel Arteta on improving the level of fitness…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal goes down stretching his legs during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal goes down stretching his legs during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

I hope so! That wasn’t the plan [to sit back in the second half], I have to admit, but at the moment we are suffering a little bit to maintain the intensity we had in the first half. I think it will come, it is part of the process, 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 like to see them suffer together. When they had to defend deeper… I want to see that reaction that instead of getting annoyed with each other when someone gives the ball away. It was a positive reaction and everyone was tracking back. So I am pleased with that aspect of the game as well.

Mikel Arteta on Lucas Torreira…

Arsenal's Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (L) celebrates with Arsenal's Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos (L) celebrates with Arsenal’s Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira (R) after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 1, 2020. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

He was really good again. He wants to fight for every ball. In training he fights for every inch. He’s starting to understand the whole picture much better, that’s what I’m trying to do [with him]. He’s been superb. In the three games he’s played under me, he’s been top.

Mikel Arteta on whether we have the ability to develop our battling qualities…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal pushes Luke Shaw of Manchester United as referee Chris Kavanagh speaks to them both during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Nicolas Pepe of Arsenal pushes Luke Shaw of Manchester United as referee Chris Kavanagh speaks to them both during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Yes. I think you have to have some of that naturally. Then you can be contagious with it. I think we have some really good role models at the football club. I think when we install a good culture and a good way of living together, more will come up. They just need a good platform, they need support, they need guidance. That’s why we’re here.

Mikel Arteta on how significant this result is for him…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

At the end of the day, we’re getting judged by results. That’s going to give the players a massive lift in terms of confidence, that they can play against any opponent in this league and be better than them, dominate them, and compete against them. That’s something that, in my opinion, for many weeks, they haven’t been doing together. As well, what we are trying to create is not just words, it’s actually happening and you can see that happening. That generates more belief. That’s only about winning games.

Mikel Arteta on if he can compare the feeling of winning as a manager to when he was a player…
It’s much more stressful as a manager! I lost my voice talking to them, but I’m very pleased. Mostly for them and as well for the fans because I am so happy that I turned around in the stadium and I saw smiley faces, I saw energy, I saw people standing and that’s what I want.

Mikel Arteta on how difficult it was to lift the dressing room when he came in…

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Bukayo Saka, Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson of Arsenal celebrate victory after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 01: Bukayo Saka, Sead Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson of Arsenal celebrate victory after the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Well, that’s why I said to them that without you guys I won’t be able to do it. You have to open that door and believe that I can bring something different to the club. We need all the staff to believe as well. If we are able to do that, day by day, it will take a long time and the process is not going to be easy and there will be ups and downs, but they bought into it. That’s my feeling. They want to do it. I think they are starting to enjoy it and hopefully it’s a start.

Mikel Arteta on reports of Eddie Nketiah returning to the club…
Yes, we are having a meeting tomorrow with Raul and Edu to go through all the loans and situation. I know he is coming tomorrow, so I will speak to him and we will try to make the best decision for him.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.