Pablo Mari believes Mikel Arteta is one of the best managers he’s had, despite feeling like he hasn’t had much of a chance at Arsenal.
Following his recent loan move out to Udinese, Pablo Mari has praised his parent club’s manager Mikel Arteta.
“Arteta is one of the best managers I’ve come across,” Mari said.
“He helped me a lot to understand football better. It’s an idea very similar to Guardiola’s, but with its nuances.”
Mari made just three appearances for Arsenal in the first half of the season, so in a way, it’s surprising to hear him praising Arteta.
Speaking to Radio Marca, Mari did suggest he believes he’s performed well enough when given opportunities at Arsenal, but things just didn’t go his way.
“At Arsenal, I haven’t had any luck, but when I’ve been on the pitch I think I’ve been at a very good level,” Mari said. “In the end, there comes a point where you have to make decisions.”
There’s certainly an extent to which Mari has been unlucky at Arsenal.
A couple of very poorly-timed injuries ensured he never had the chance to get going in the early stages of his Gunners career, after which Gabriel Magalhaes took his place.
But Arsenal fans may well point to some of the recent matches where Mari did get a chance in disappointing defeats, such as the Europa League semi-final away to Villarreal, and his starts against Brentford and Chelsea this season.
As unlucky as Mari has been, he also still has something to prove before he can suggest he deserves a spot at Arsenal.
Mari made his first start for Udinese against Torino on Sunday, and he put in a strong defensive display as his side came out 2-0 winners.
The Gunners centre-back made eight clearances and won eight of his 11 individual duels to keep Torino to just a single shot on target.
Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb report that it was “a good first [game] for Pablo Mari, immediately a leader of the defence on his debut in Serie A”.