Mikel Arteta says he sometimes feels like hitting himself when things don’t go well but his comments may have revealed a little more than he intended.
When a person speaks, the examples they tend to give to back up their points are often called ‘verbal leakage’ – you reference what you know, what you think about and what you are afraid of.
We’ve talked before on here about Mikel Arteta’s anal approach to coaching and how he has stifled players by filling their heads with too many instructions. It might come as a surprise to some, then, when he says he goes out of his way to make sure they aren’t overcoached, even though nobody, at that time, suggested that they were.
“I think it is impossible not to [bring your work home],” Arteta said after his side had finally got their first goal and points of the new Premier League season. “That’s why when you see your kids running around you and your wife trying to just change the topic and see everything from a different perspective, it’s so helpful.
“That negativity has to come away. You have to bear in mind that first of all you are doing everything you can to your best capacity, and don’t kid yourself or look for excuses. Normally the easiest thing to do is blame the players: ‘They are not good enough. I have this, I have that.’ And then you try to over-coach them.
“I was not willing to do that because first of all they don’t deserve that. The people around this club don’t deserve it. You just want to hit yourself because you are not doing things right and you are not getting the outcome you think you deserve.”
There are many things that Arteta could have said here to demonstrate his point. He could have referenced the changes behind the scenes or the pandemic. He could have spoke about injuries or unsettled players, but he chose to mention over-coaching and the players not being good enough.
This suggests to me that somewhere in his head, even if he isn’t aware of it, this is exactly what Arteta thinks and, as a result, what he has been doing to try and overcome those problems.
After the City game, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said, “…this is not enough and everyone needs to raise the level, look at ourselves in the mirror and work this out as a team and stick together.”
Arteta was then asked about those comments and he replied, “If he feels that then I really agree because they are the ones that are on the pitch and have feelings that no one else can have apart from them so if that’s the case, then that’s good.”
After Brentford, Arteta said, “We have to react, not find any excuses about players that weren’t here or our injured players, and look at ourselves and raise the level.
“All the young players that played today – Flo had his debut, Gabriel Martinelli hasn’t played for a long time as he’s been with Brazil – they tried their best and it wasn’t enough [to get a result]”
If you try your best and it still isn’t enough, what does that say? ‘They are not good enough’, perhaps?
The easiest thing to do is indeed to blame the players, good thing Arteta never does that, huh?