Ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup third round tie against Leeds, Mikel Arteta stressed to his players the quality of the opposition and the way they’d play under coach Marcelo Bielsa.
Having been run ragged in the first half, the Arsenal boss let rip at the break, provoking a much better second half performance and passage into the 4th round.
It was a lesson for the new manager, and for his players, and as the Gunners prepare to host Sheffield United at the Emirates on Saturday, Arteta has again made it clear the opposition are not to be underestimated.
The Blades sit in 6th place in the Premier League, four points above Arsenal, and deservedly so after what has been an impressive campaign so far.
“I’ve been very impressed,” said the Spaniard when asked about tomorrow’s opposition.
“I’ve seen a lot of games and everything is prepared. Everything they do has a real sense, they are really difficult to break down.
“The solidarity in their team is incredible, how hard they work for each other and they have very clear principles – in attack and in defence, restarts of play, set-pieces – with what they want to do.
“So it will be a very difficult test. I already warned the players today.”
Arteta also had words of praise for his opposite number, Chris Wilder.
“The work he’s done is phenomenal,” he said.
“He’s done some special things as well with some movements and characteristics of how he moves his team around, and the demands that he puts on his players.
“What I like about a manager is when I see a team and they are a real team that fights for every single ball with their attitude and behaviour, as well as their intentions for what they want to do every time.
“It’s very clear what he’s trying to do, so I have big admiration for him.”