Mikel Arteta has received backing from a surprising source with Birmingham City striker Troy Deeney defending him against critics.
Last week, Arsenal dropped Premier League points for the first time in months, drawing 0-0 against Newcastle United.
Mikel Arteta was incensed by some of the decisions, particularly the way two penalty shouts were waved away, and he made his feelings known on the sidelines.
That led to some predictable hand-wringing from certain parts of the media, with a few has-been pundits claiming Arteta’s antics were disrespectful, or harmful to Arsenal’s title chances, or a sign that everything’s about to fall apart at the club.
Rather unexpectedly, Troy Deeney has spoken out in defence of Arteta.
“I disagree with that and I think his players will, too,” Deeney said (via The S*n). “If you’re playing a crucial match, you want to know your manager is in the trenches with you.
“It’s not so much about showing ‘passion’. It’s about intensity. It’s about a manager setting a tone for his players.
“I see Arteta kicking every ball, slinging the ball back in for throw-ins, and getting in the ear of the match officials — and I like it.
“I’ve heard from his players that he has the same sort of intensity during every training session. I think this is one of the reasons why Arteta is really getting a tune out of his players this season.
“Most of the very best managers are the same — Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola.
“Even Arsene Wenger, supposedly one of the nicest gentlemen in the game, was sent off several times.
“Being successful in management is not all about keeping a cool head.”
Though the source of the support is a bit surprising, Deeney certainly has a point.
Many of football’s top managers went ballistic on the sidelines, made excuses in press conferences, complained about a conspiracy against them, and went on to win the title anyway.
If anything, it’s part of the psychology of getting your squad to shake off bad results. If they feel wronged, they’re more likely to put in a good performance in the next game than if they feel like they simply played badly.
Arteta’s touchline enthusiasm doesn’t seem to have affected Arsenal negatively so far this season. It’s just the usual fuss over nothing from the mainstream media.