Mikel Arteta has praised the attitude of his squad after beating champions Liverpool in the Charity Shield on Saturday.
Our players had barely begun their pre-season preparations, while the Mugsmashers had played a couple of warm-up games in the build-up to the Wembley showdown.
Late on we could see the difference in fitness levels, but the Arsenal boss was keen to talk up the belief in his squad as they prepared for the game.
Speaking afterwards, the Spaniard said, “Two days ago we started to have players back in training and I didn’t hear one excuse like: ‘Oh Liverpool had two weeks [training] in Austria, better preparation…’ None of that.
“When I was in the dressing room I had the feeling they believed we could win. They didn’t feel any fear.
“They had a lot of respect for Liverpool but they wanted to really go for it and believed they could win another trophy. And from the first minute they showed quality and courage on the pitch.”
While the highlight was an outstanding goal from captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arteta was particularly pleased with the way we defended, acknowledging the need to become more miserly at the back.
“We know that if you want to fight for trophies you can’t concede the amount of goals we have over the last few seasons, that’s for sure,” he said.
“But obviously with the ball in the attacking phase we must do a lot better. We had some periods where we showed we are developing in the right direction.
“Defensively we are solid, we are difficult to beat. Really, if we have the mindset that we have 11 players doing it, that it doesn’t matter who your name is, I think we have a really good chance.”
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