Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opens up on stresses of difficult start to the season

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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

In this current climate of Zoom press conferences and interviews through laptops, it is sometimes hard to extract emotion from people.

Crowds may have returned to stadiums across the country, but the vast majority of media access is still conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That includes pre and post-match press conferences and it has now been a good 18 months since most journalists have seen Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta in person.

Press conferences over Zoom are fine and workable, and have obviously been necessary over the past year or so, but they can make things rather sterile. Unsurprisingly, people aren’t as open when sat in a room talking to screen instead of interacting face-to-face.

That has been the case with Arteta at times but on Saturday, after Arsenal’s win over Norwich, the Spaniard was incredibly honest.

He opened up about the pressures that come with managing a club of Arsenal’s size, how it can be hard to separate that from home life, and you were reminded that these managers are humans - and not just people at the other end of a Zoom call.

“I think it is impossible not to,” said Arteta, when talking about bringing home the stress of managing Arsenal.

“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.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

It has been a miserable start to the season for Arsenal who, before Saturday’s win over Norwich, had failed to claim a point or score a goal in the Premier League.

That pressure has weighed heavy on everyone at the club, but Arteta - as the manager - has been in the eye of the storm.

“You just want to hit yourself because you are not doing things right and you are not getting the outcome you think you deserve,” he said.

“And what I did probably was against myself because you are upset with yourself, you are angry, you are tired.

“You have to understand why you do it. So after the loss against City probably I was at the lowest.

“And then you start to try analyse things, you hear different opinions - media, what you think, criticism - and then probably you go even further.

“And then starts the importance of having the family I have, the wife and kids I have, the parents and the friends I have. In difficult moments they show their commitment in your relationship with them.”

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