Mikel Arteta says he’s pleased with the support he’s getting from his coaching staff and the way they’ve built relationships with each other.
When the Spaniard was appointed Arsenal’s head coach in December last year he didn’t have much time to assemble a backroom team.
In came Steve Round, Albert Stuivenberg and Inaki Cana to bolster a team that already included Shad Forsythe’s fitness guys, Freddie Ljungberg and Sal Bibbo. Since the summer, the latter two have moved on to be replaced by Andreas Georgson, Carlos Cuesta and Miguel Molina.
As a collective, they are an intriguing mix of youth and experience – Cuesta and Molina are still in their 20s while Round and Stuivenberg have already hit 50 – and they’ve kept a very low profile.
We’ve not heard a peep from any of them via official channels since they joined the club and we’re not entirely sure how responsibilities are divvied up between them.
It’s also rare that the boss is asked about them. On Friday, he was.
Quizzed in his pre-Leeds press conference about the qualities of a good assistant, a role he had at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, he said: “First to identify what you need around you, what your strengths and weaknesses are or things you don’t control, things you’ve not experienced, things you need.”
He went on to talk about the group he’s brought together over the last 11 months.
“I’m extremely lucky to have the coaching staff that I have,” he reflected. “It was a very challenging thing to do in a very short period of time. We hadn’t worked together.
“I needed a mix of people that I knew really well on a personal and professional level.
“I have to say that I’m really, really happy with them. Not only what they bring and how they help me but most importantly how they get on together. Sometimes it’s not an easy thing to do when you spend so many hours together.
“Also [to build] the relationships that they’ve built with the players, the members of staff, everybody at the club here.”