At his pre-match press conference, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta commended Javi Gracia’s impact on Leeds United, as the team collected seven points in his first four matches.
Mikel Arteta has expressed his admiration for Javi Gracia’s early achievements at Leeds United, which include two wins and a draw in the manager’s first four matches in charge.
Speaking to the press, Arteta highlighted the distinct DNA of Gracia’s teams, characterised by passion, energy, and a clear playing style.
With key players returning from injury, Arteta expects a difficult contest against Leeds at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, and he’s warned his players not to take the opposition lightly.
“They have a very clear DNA – how they behave, the character, the passion and energy that they play with,” Arteta said.
“They’ve been doing it for a long, long time and now with a new manager as well with some new ideas, some players that have been injured that they have had some issues with they are back, so they are a very dangerous team.
“We have discussed openly and very clearly about what we are going to expect tomorrow, and that we have to be really good to beat them.
“They want the points as much as we want them. Hopefully we want them more than them and we can show that on Saturday, but obviously it’s a team that has its needs.
“They are playing at a really good level and they got a really good result in their last one [against Wolves], and like we have always done, we have to earn the right to win the game.”
Gracia’s career has seen him manage clubs such as Malaga, Rubin Kazan, Valencia, and Watford, experiences that Arteta believes have shaped the manager’s tactical intelligence and adaptability.
Arteta is familiar with Gracia from their time in Spain, where Gracia played for Real Sociedad, Arteta’s hometown team.
“I know him as a player as he used to play in my hometown really well,” he said. “He is a really good coach, really dedicated, thoughtful and very clear in his ideas of how he wants his team to play.
“He can vary as well, as he has done at many clubs with his way of playing and formations, so he is very adaptable. He’s coached so many teams already so that shows the quality that he has, and I think so far he has done really well.”
The Arsenal boss is convinced that Gracia’s diverse coaching background and his clear ideas on how he wants his team to play have been instrumental in his early success at Leeds.