Mikel Arteta demands ‘focus’ from Arsenal stars as World Cup looms

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

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has urged his players heading to the World Cup to remain focused on club matters as they prepare for their final two games before travelling to Qatar.

Countries are naming their squads for the World Cup this week, with England announcing their’s on Thursday, and players are finally founding out if they have made the cut.

Arteta, however, does not want any of his players getting distracted by the World Cup as Arsenal look to finish strongly before the mid-season break.

The Gunners are top of the Premier League, while they also topped their Europa League group to get a bye to the last-16.

They are next in action on Wednesday when they face Brighton in the Carabao Cup, before they finish off this first half of the season with a Premier League clash at Wolves on Saturday night.

“Obviously there is a lot of attention and a lot of media coverage,” said Arteta, when asked about the World Cup now coming into his players’ mind.

“I’m sure they get asked a lot of questions, a lot of people contacting them already because it’s just around the corner, it’s a matter of days now.

“And you cannot stop that but obviously we want to keep our players as focused as possible on the job that they have to do for the club in the next two games.

“We need to understand obviously the risks and rewards that we have, but at the same time we cannot treat any competition in a different way.

“We want another win because as well, playing well helps winning, and winning helps winning. It maintains the mood, it maintains the momentum, the confidence, the trust, the involvement of everybody and it’s just beneficial in any aspect.”

Brazil named their World Cup squad earlier this week, with Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli making the cut from Arsenal.

Arteta is delighted for the two forwards, but admitted he is disappointed fellow Brazilian Gabriel Magalhaes did not receive a call-up.

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

“[Jesus and Martinelli] are delighted, I spoke to both of them today and they have big smiles on their faces,” said Arteta.

“For Gabi Martinelli it’s his first one and I think it’s a huge achievement to be part of the national team. For Gabby Jesus it’s great as well because he needed that call after what happened in the last one.

“And for Gabi Magalhaes it’s a disappointment, but when you look at the squad that they have and the experience they have in that position, you have to understand that and it’s another challenge for him.

“He needs to be ready for the next one, he needs to improve and carry on with the good things that he’s been doing.”