Mikel Arteta was quick to praise the attitude of his players after Arsenal secured a creditable 1-0 victory against Chelsea.
Without a win at the Stamford Bridge since 2011, the Gunners benefited from terrible defending by the home side to wriggle into an early lead via Emile Smith Rowe’s scuffed effort.
After that, it was the definition of a backs-to-the-wall performance with the Blues penning us in and mounting wave after wave of attack. Somehow, despite the ball rattling the bar a couple of times, we held on for an 11th clean sheet of the season.
“It’s been ten years I think since we won here so I think it’s a really important result for the club, for our fans and also for our players because I think they showed how much they mean it,” said Arteta.
“(The players showed) the spirit and the attitude that they have among the group and how much they care about it.”
In his post-game interview with Sky Sports, Arteta took the media to task for their interpretation of some of his pre-game comments. The Spaniard seemed to suggest that some players hadn’t given their maximum this season when he was actually trying to say he had failed to get the best from them.
His frustration shone through in the press conference when he was asked if last night’s win was a reaction to outside pressure.
“Probably for the outside world it was,” he said, “but they don’t have to show anything to me because I see them every day, how they prepare, how professional they are, and how much they try. But probably from the outside, yes, it was a big message.”
It seems Arteta was quick to clarify what he was trying to say in a meeting with his players.
Rob Holding revealed to BBC 5 Live: “The stuff came out in the media yesterday which he [Arteta] said isn’t true. It’s out of context. He explained that to us. We knew it wasn’t his opinion. We showed that tonight and we backed him and we did what he asked.”