Mikel Arteta says he enjoys watching his players run themselves into the ground as they strive to achieve results on the pitch.
Fitness is an issue right now with the new manager’s style demanding much more from the team than previously. Some of the players have admitted that they’re not physically up to it just yet, with David Luiz saying after the 2-0 win over Man Utd, “We have to be honest and humble to admit that physically we are not ready.
“We showed that in the second half against Chelsea and today but when you’re not there physically you have to put in your heart.”
However, it’s something Arteta likes because it demonstrates their commitment to the collective, and when it was put to him that in the second half his team sat off a bit he admitted it wasn’t by design as much as necessity.
“That wasn’t the plan I have to admit, but at the moment we are suffering a little bit to maintain the intensity we had in the first half,” he said.
“I think it will come, it is part of the process, the way we train, but at the moment we don’t have much time to do so.
“But as well I really liked the resilience, and I like to see them suffer together. When they had to defend deeper.
“I want to see that reaction that instead of getting annoyed with each other when someone gives the ball away.
“It was a positive reaction and everyone was tracking back, so I am pleased with that aspect of the game as well.”
The Gunners don’t play again in the Premier League until January 11th when we visit Crystal Palace, but face Leeds in the FA Cup on Monday evening when Arteta is expected to field a heavily rotated side to rest legs after what has been a punishing festive schedule.