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Arsenal defender Cedric Soares has waxed lyrical about Mikel Arteta, revealing that the Gunners manager works on “every detail of the game”.
The Arsenal squad seem very happy working with Arteta, with Champions League football on the agenda after six years out of the competition.
They came very close last season, eventually finishing in fifth place behind arch-rivals Tottenham.
Despite a disappointing end to 2021/22, optimism is high with Arteta at the helm, and Cedric has praised the Spanish manager for how he got his side out of their slump at the start of the campaign.
The Gunners lost their opening three Premier League fixtures last term – failing to score a single goal and conceding nine – before a win against Norwich City sparked a lengthy unbeaten run.
In Amazon’s All or Nothing: Arsenal you can see Arteta’s team talk before the game against the Canaries, and Cedric said it was a “really good speech” that “helped to turn the season around”.
“We didn’t have the start of the season we wanted, I think this is obvious,” the 30-year-old said. “We had tough games, they weren’t easy at all but in the end, it was not the start we wanted and the team was a bit down which is normal.
All or Nothing: 𝗔𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗹
After losing our first three Premier League games of 21/22, the boss delivered this…
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 27, 2022
“I think Mikel tried to bring the group together; he had a really good speech.
“He always tried every week to change the speech, try to interact a bit with us, try to get a bit more emotions sometimes together with his plan tactically and you need to respect this.
“Just before we got to the pitch he tried to touch on some points where he knew was going to become much more emotional. I think it was good, very important and helped to turn the season around.”
Martin Odegaard told Football365 that he is learning “every day” from Arteta, and Cedric was unable to pick a specific moment when he was left amazed by his ‘detailed’ manager.
He said: “I would say maybe to pick a moment when he is not would be easier. He always tries to prepare the game with a lot of detail. In all the games we played there was a lot of detail in every perspective.
“He tried to help with a lot of information also with the game plan so we cannot really complain about not having enough information because he is on it, he tries to work on every detail of the game and obviously after it is down to the players so I would pick every week. He is all about every small detail.”
An interesting part of the All or Nothing documentary is the player’s relationships with Arteta and his coaches.
There are several scenes in the opening three episodes where Carlos Cuesta has one-on-one conversations with a player.
Cuesta was able to help Nuno Tavares settle in after joining from Benfica last summer, and is someone that Emile Smith Rowe – who also spoke to F365 – has grown close to.
Cedric appreciates having the 27-year-old coach – who speaks six languages – at the club.
“They are always analysing individuals, me personally with Carlos as well,” the Portuguese right-back said. “Sometimes you need to talk about the game. When it was bad you need to talk but sometimes people don’t want to talk.
“Some people also like to analyse the game, some people don’t like to analyse the game. Me personally, I like to analyse the game, I always do, in good and bad moments – especially when it is bad.”
Cedric also discussed the ‘under-developed’ mental health side of things in football, revealing that Arsenal “take a lot of care” of their players’ mental wellbeing.
The former Southampton defender said: “It’s a side of football that is not developed. I think it is growing a lot. Arsenal is taking a lot of care of this side.
“Of course, Mikel can not arrive to everyone, he has a lot of players. He is paying attention to everything and trying to be close and trying to have a word but the people around him also do this job. We have some people in just to pay attention to these details.
“It’s a difficult area. You can be good, you can be bad, maybe you won’t tell [anyone], so it’s difficult. I’m lucky because I have my family all the time. I grew up with a strong family which helped me grow a strong mentality.
“I also have good moments, bad moments, when I’m sad, I’m happy, you always have to challenge yourself and this is how I see things. I do my internal thinking and when I need to talk I talk with my family.
“Obviously, all the people don’t grow up the same way, they might need different attentions which is sometimes difficult to manage but I think Arsenal is trying to pay attention a lot to this. They were trying to motivate them and be tougher [with some], with others you need to look after them.”
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Tavares – who recently joined Marseille on loan for the season – struggled to come out of his shell when he initially joined the club and after a few disappointing performances, Cedric tried to motivate him to keep his head up.
On what his relationship with his compatriot is like, Cedric said: “Very good, he talks Portuguese, so it’s easier to become closer. I tried to help him as much as I could. Of course, he has his own way and he has a strong personality so he wants to do it his own way and I respect that a lot.
“I am very, very close with him and anything he needed during the season I was there, for the bad and good moments. When he was not playing I was encouraging him to keep going, not to drop the level in training because there is a lot the fans don’t see. They see how you perform on the weekend. You don’t see the mental side of it. You don’t see if the player comes [back] from injury or if he has a bad week. This is not explained.
“If you are on the pitch you need to make sure you are ready to perform. So I tried to help Nuno a lot and I think he is getting more mature and I already see improvements from when he arrived.”
The Arsenal fanbase has struggled to endear themselves to the squad in recent seasons, though the tide is turning at the Emirates with Arteta operating with a likeable, relatable, young core.
With the mood constantly improving, Cedric insists the supporters can impact the performance of the team through their energy, whether that be positive or negative.
The 30-year-old was asked about the fans and if players listen to the negative noise on social media, and if it affects them.
“When I came it was Covid, so we didn’t have fans, then we started to have positive energy around the pitch the whole time.
“When you are on the pitch you don’t really feel, you feel more the positive things when you are there and they are vocal.
“The negativity, sometimes you don’t understand it. I think in my point of view it is like a ball that if it starts growing positive energy then you also encourage the others to do positive things and it just becomes confidence, you go to the duel and sometimes you win it, I don’t understand why but you win it. And everything becomes more positive.
“When it’s opposite it’s also a bit like this. You are all here and we send energy to each other automatically and I think the negativity you can transmit to each other, so I think when we are all together we are much stronger. I’m quite sure this is actually affecting [us].”
You can watch All or Nothing: Arsenal on Amazon Prime Video.
Episodes 1-3 are released on Thursday, August 4.
Episodes 4-6 – Thursday, August 11.
Episodes 7-8 – Thursday, August 18.
Sign up or start a free trial here.
The article Cedric ‘sure’ fan energy impacts the team; discusses ‘detailed’ Arsenal boss Arteta appeared first on Football365.com.