Mikel Arteta says Liverpool’s journey to becoming Premier League winners is a great example for Arsenal to follow but he maintains it’s not a simple case of copy and pasting their ideas.
Liverpool finished eighth in the table at the end of Jurgen Klopp’s first season in charge in 2015/16 but have closed the gap on the sides above them year-on-year finishing, fourth, fourth and second before securing their first top-flight title in 30 years this week.
Currently ninth in the table and with half the tally of points accumulated by Liverpool, there’s no doubt that Arteta, who took over in December, has a mammoth job on his hands. Having only started his project in December, he knows he has much work to do to get the fans onboard and that includes on the recruitment front.
“At the moment, we are very far [from the top] and the league table shows how far,” said Arteta.
“To compare with them [Liverpool] is not the right thing to do or to try to emulate them by copy and pasting. It doesn’t work. We have to believe what we believe is the right thing to do.
“The context is completely different to what they had at that time, we have to adapt our concepts, our situation, the players and the environment that we have, and let’s start making some decisions.”
While the Spaniard is wary of direct comparisons with the Reds, he buys into the idea that a team can be hugely improved when it’s run with clear principles and the personalities in the camp match the club’s philosophy.
“It’s a great example to take to see that it is possible to do it [win the league], but it takes a lot of work and a lot of great decisions from everyone,” he said.
“First of all, [there must be a] belief that what you are doing is the right thing to do and they [the people in charge] are all aligned and have a strong belief that it is the right thing to do.
“And from there, you need to start to make the right decisions in terms of recruitment to get a coach that is identified for the philosophy of that football club, that the fans believe in that and feel attached to that and then players that are 100 per cent committed to that manager and that football club and to give their best all the time, no matter what.
“After that, slowly, you start to catch up. You start to get better and better and better. And then you start to make improvements, you generate belief and when you generate belief and you have the crowds and the history and the fans that we have, you can do anything. I have strong beliefs about that.”
After a hectic six months as Arsenal’s head coach, has Arteta generated more belief in his players? He thinks so, but says it’s not really for him to say. Ultimately, change won’t be affected immediately, patience will be required.
“The way I see them play and train, for sure,” he said. “They are very, very willing about what we want to do. They believe, they want to learn. I think they are enjoying the process, but you have to ask them not me. It’s a question for them.
“We have to be able to transmit that around the football club and obviously to our fans. Is it going to take a bit of time? Yes. It’s the hardest thing in football. I think, if we’re a little bit patient, we will see some big changes.”