Mikel Arteta has explained why he didn’t drop Nuno Tavares for Kieran Tierney after the former’s mistake in the defeat at Anfield.
Nuno Tavares has played a run of games recently, starting when Kieran Tierney picked up an injury forcing him out of action.
The summer signing made a couple of appearances, but he then kept his place in the team as Tierney returned to full fitness.
Tavares ended up starting at Anfield, and he made a mistake leading to the host’s second goal. Yet the left-back kept his place anyway in the next game against Newcastle United, even with Tierney available.
Mikel Arteta has explained that he wanted to show that he still had faith in the young full-back, and that making mistakes whilst trying to play Arteta’s football is just what’s going to happen sometimes.
“It was a tricky one and after what happened at Anfield and some individual errors that we had, we have to be very careful with the messages that we send to our players,” Arteta said.
“I encourage my players to play with courage, to take risks, to make decisions, and to be on the front foot.
“When they do that, if for any reason things don’t go our way or somebody makes a mistake, that’s when you have to show trust in the player because you want to build confidence and resilience.
“It’s not only for the player that’s playing, it’s also for the player that’s not playing to understand that part of that decision is to support, and in their case, if it happens to them, I will do exactly the same thing.
“It’s something that we have to build and with young players even more, because if not, they can get very confused. I have full confidence in him.”
In the end, Tavares rewarded Arteta’s faith by assisting Arsenal’s opening goal of the game against Newcastle.
If he now drops out of the team for Tierney on Thursday, it will be on a high, rather than with the memory of his mistake at Anfield fresh in his mind.
Arteta certainly seems glad to have competition in the position, especially after what happened last season.
“That’s the level that we want to achieve, that in every position we have players that can perform at the highest level and can complement each other by giving you different qualities as well,” Arteta continued.
“Last year when we had an issue with Kieran, when he was out for a while, we had to invent and play players in that position, and that’s something that obviously we want to eradicate as much as possible.
“And that’s why we made the decision that we made in the summer, to try to fill the gaps that we have and make the team stronger. It’s only about that.
“Kieran hasn’t played in a lot of games because he was still injured and in others, because once Nuno played and played well, I think he deserved the chance to continue playing.”