In the second half of his pre-Burnley press conference, Mikel Arteta was quizzed on how he intends to generate a new team spirit with his recent signings, what team-building activities he’s experienced in the past and how new signing Takehio Tomiyasu is fitting in.

Here’s what the boss had to say…

On the type of characters he’s added to the squad…

In my opinion, medium and long-term, I think it’s crucial. Because at the end a team is formed when individuals have the same purpose. And to have the same purpose, you have to trust each other and be connected with each other. You have to create energy between each other. To do that there has to be some affection, some love, some belief between them and that only happens when you like what you see, you like the characters, you feel connected with them.

On it taking time for his new group to gel…

Probably to get the best versions of themselves for the best version of the team, yes. But we will see flashes of the best version of themselves and the best versions of the team. What we want to see there, we could give thousands of examples in the Premier League where players needed some adaptation. So far, I’m really happy with what they’ve done.

On Tomiyasu’s attitude and character immediately winning fans…

We didn’t even have time to introduce him but that shows me how intelligent the fans are. They picked him up straight away. It probably helps that he had a smile on his face, he looks clean, he looks honest, he looks transparent. Then, when he’s on the pitch, he looks fully committed, he doesn’t doubt, he goes for every ball, he’s reassuring, he’s got a presence and he’s a very honest player. You could see the reaction and the connection that he had straight away with the fans and that’s very pleasing because it was so quick.

On whether it was him who particularly drove the signing…

Please, I don’t want to talk about [specific players]….these are all Arsenal players that we signed through a process that has been done for a long time. Tomi, obviously, he was for for all of us a player with a huge [potential]. We didn’t know that he could be in the market because we didn’t believe there could be a possibility but the moment that opened, the club was straight away in a really convincing way, efficient and clear that we had to do it. We’re very happy to have him.

On his English…

His English is much better than I expected.

On how eager he is to dispel suggestions that Arsenal are a ‘soft touch’…

We try to change it. We know that you guys use some words that I hate to hear but they’ve been used when we play this kind of opponent. Let’s change it. It starts like this, let’s change the narrative and put a different one.

On if he has the men to change that narrative…

Yes.

On whether he uses team-building exercises to build spirit…

I have to be honest with you, in the last 18 months we haven’t done anything because we had Covid and so many restrictions. From now on, we’re going to start doing a few good things that we can enjoy together.

On team-building activities he’s done in the past…

Many, many different ones. Some with the coaches, some just with the players, some with the whole club involved, which are great, some with family and kids and trying to understand each other’s lives better. It’s all about connecting with each other and the way we can do it, the more fun and trust we can generate in the group and the club, the better.

On any standout examples…

Yeah, for me, one of the best ones that we had was at the training ground, [Training Centre Manager] Sean O’Connor prepared everything out there and it was fun and games with all the families and the kids. We did that one year and two years later we did something similar and we had many more kids. The players were busy with the wives, we could see the families growing and it was great to see how the team, the club, the staff were getting to know each other in a much deeper way.

On generating a similar environment…

Yeah, absolutely. Again, we had some difficulties doing that. You want to make a player who is just joining the club as welcome as possible, you want to try and explain the values of the club, who are the people, but it’s been difficult because they weren’t able to do it. There are so many people at Highbury House [the club’s administrative office] or the stadium that we’d like to have here but it’s not been possible.

On jokers in the dressing room…

I think we have a few. I prefer that the players respond to those question as they are with them. It’s probably not for me to say. There are some funny ones.

On funny players from his time…

Per [Mertesacker] was one of the main ones. He was instrumental [in keeping spirits up], he was great for the dressing room.

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Capitaine_Surcouf

First! Woohoo!

Aside from that, would love to see someone step up as an enforcer in this squad. Where are the players getting angry when a teammate gets knocked by a hard challenge?

We don’t see it. We only see morons grabbing necks or diving two feet in because they’re frustrated.

Andy

Nothing builds a team better than getting together a group of talented, motivated professionals, who have the drive to succeed and be better. Anything else is just blather.

Mayor McCheese

“…had many more kids. The players were busy with the wives…”

===

Nice.

Charles MMM

Hahaha..

Disarmed Gunner

“He looks clean”. So basically, if you have a beard and are a bit of a scruffy twat you are out. What has our club become under this guy. This narcissist has us firmly under his thumb; Languishing about with the Norwich’s of this world and throwing parties when he graces us with a rare win. Guy speaks in absolute riddles and skirts over any difficult questions. And let’s face it, most of these “questions” and screened in advance and are, to use a Trump phrase “softball questions.” When he does have to answer a tough question he gets very… Read more »

arseblog

I fully understand criticism of Arteta, but imagine getting bent this far out of shape over the word ‘clean’, haha.

You need to take a step back man.

Disarmed Gunner

I’m chill. But thanks for your concern. Imagine what you like, doesn’t make it so.

arseblog

“So basically, if you have a beard and are a bit of a scruffy twat you are out.” I mean, that’s just nonsense, isn’t it? It’s not like only those with a short back and sides are picked. Questions aren’t screened in advance during press conferences either. Which isn’t to say a lot of them aren’t dumb or lazy – the team building stuff for example was so pointless when there were other questions that could have been put to him – but Arteta, like any manager, can only respond to what he’s been asked. I mean, watch the sequence where… Read more »

Disarmed Gunner

Don’t be offended if you have a beard. I have a beard also. It’s a little bit of something called a joke that you had an issue with. That’s fine. Can’t please everyone, nor should we. As for the press conference, go on the Arsenal website and then go and watch the whole press conference from a day or two ago. Arsenal actually chose not to post a follow up question in relation to his cringe “This has been the best 14 days of my life comment.” Arteta gets an easy pass by journalists and even by bloggers like yourself.… Read more »

Wrighty's hats

I personally think he has been pretty humble and willing to learn from past mistakes. Arsene Wenger used to be very diplomatic (or cagey depending on how you look at it) in his answers too, you could say MA learned that from him. What would you expect a manager to say in his situation? “Everything is terrible, myself and the players aren’t pulling their weight and well, I’m not doing well enough so I’ll just excuse myself and resign” when the club are clearly giving him a proper go at it? I’m curious where the argument for MA being a… Read more »

Disarmed Gunner

You lost me at Arteta and humble. They guy who wears expensive designer brands such as Gucci at every game rather than the club merch. Right… Doesn’t display an ego at all. So humble he actually turned down the Arsenal job because upon reflection he knew he wasn’t ready yet. Ok wait, that didn’t happen. 5 million pounds took care of that. So humble he told us he was gonna win champions League in 3 years and instead must have meant the championship as that’s where he is taking us. Arteta humble… Good one. The guy who sold our most… Read more »

Wrighty's hats

Are you talking about Guendouzi…? In addition to behind-the-scenes issues that have been alluded to, he had plenty of issues on display in matches that made me think he wasn’t suited here. I think it was good for him to have a change of scenery and grow up/mature elsewhere. When you say authoritarian regime I think you’re referring to MA’s request (which ended up becoming non-negotiables, sure) that everyone is committed, focused, respectful and a team player…. which I would assume would be a straightforward and implicit understanding within any well-functioning organisation. But again, bias – happy to be convinced… Read more »

Warthog

Sorry mate, Guen is bang average talent with a horrible attitude. The guy has been run off every team has played for. There is a lot to criticize MA for but getting rid of Guen is not one of them.

Disarmed Gunner

Oh I am one of the first to admit Guendouzi is overrated. But to keep Xhaka and Elneny over him just screams incompetence.

The Beast

Nice of you to let Mikel set up residence in your head rent free.

That’s the sort of sacrifice that builds team spirit.

Paul

You’re un poco loco 😂😂😂

Disarmed Gunner

Easy, easy. All is good. Nothing is ever as bad as you imagined nor as good as you expected. Having a little vent is therapeutic. You could try it yourself but that would require you to have a pair of nuts. You’re only good at posting snide little digs like a snickering kid at back of the classroom. In the meantime, I’ll say whatever I fancy. Peace.

The Beast

I’ll have you know I’m great at posting snide little digs like a snickering kid at the back of a classroom. I won’t have you overlooking the strides I’ve made in snide digs posting.

Now, is there room up there for another tenant? Gentrification’s hit south london & rent’s absolutely extortionate.

Disarmed Gunner

I’m in Asia buddy. My renting days are a distant memory. Soon Arteta and his fanboys such as you will also be but a memory when he gets the boot. May I suggest you add the adjective “toothless” to you name of Beast? As you’re all bark no bite.

Noshi

Calm down.

Appearances

How’s someone in London expected to bite someone in Asia?

(Snide remark, please).

Nzini

Fu*k town planners then

My Favorite Martin

The only thing one needs to “have a little vent” is poor impulse control.

Disarmed Gunner

English please

Charlie Carter

Sounds like a right hoot Arteta

Ex-Priest Tobin

A bunch of PR waffle as usual.

Arteta is like an office manager who talks a good game and gets on well with the bosses without delivering any quality in his actual work. Punt please.

Cobwebs

He is obligated to meet the journalist s every week and answer inanne questions. I don’t suppose he wants to do it and to have to come up with stuff to say which won’t cause problems when the papers spin it for clickbait.

Moses

I like these answers, but as the spirit of the interview states the proof is in the puddding, just don’t eat too much.

Collibosher

Er… it’s “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. I really don’t know how that old proverb got so twisted, but it may well have been the devilish work of football pundits.

Moses

Well I personally do not mind a bit of alcohol in my pud.

T.A.

I believe Blogs said it well that for the next several weeks at least every game is like a cup final. I still think the team hasn’t gelled together yet so I am nervous about tomorrow. A win will certainly put us in great shape to face The Dark Side next week. Here’s to a great performance and a convincing win.

Vaibhav Pandey

We will be alright 🙂

Nzini

Viva pandeymic

Wrighty's hats

COYG!!!!!!

thw14

I hope this version of Arteta has in some way recognised the problem identified in this piece on the NFL’s “empathy gap”. But hopefully with a slightly different solution, because treating human beings as human beings is not a “competitive advantage”, it’s just humane. Also, it enables them to treat you as a human being in return, which is much needed when you’re in your literal first head coaching job. Players are still making an effort for him when they could easily make his job much harder – even players like AMN, who was made to feel disposable just two… Read more »

Almerius Mutungi

We need the team to be connected and play with spirit! The coach has a task on that, because as fans we need only wins and at the end to have some trophies!!

Laca New Signing

The B F G seemed to me like a very pleasant dude to hang out with. In this group I think the funny ones are Laca, Pepe, Auba and Mo. I also remember an England teammate ( I think it was Trippier) saying how Saka is a nice chap to be around.

Looking forward to the team gelling and cruising through teams like the invincibles of yore.

Qwaliteee

*Off

C.B.

*of

Qwaliteee

*On a plate.

Fucking auto…!!

Disarmed Gunner

I can’t tell you who the funny ones were on the Invincibles squad. I neither know, nor care to know. What I can tell you is the trophies won and the players who won them. We’ve already well established that this current squad is a pack of jokers run by a clown.

Onenil

The press asked a question he answered.
You hate the manager and the team, not much here for you is there?

Disarmed Gunner

Cry some more buddy.

Goonerrific

I work for a large leisure company in London and we had a booking for the squad to do a team building thing with their families a couple of weeks ago.

It got cancelled a couple of days before (I imagine due to covid outbreaks), however the intention is clearly to make the squad gel as mates as well as colleagues

Disarmed Gunner

Nothing revolutionary there. Every club does team bonding activities like paintballing etc.

Wrighty's hats

You seem very short-tempered and irritable. Are you ok?

Arsenal v Sp*rs in a paintballing match would be fun to watch.

TeeCee

Great idea, I’ll just put a box of paintballs in the freezer.

Goonerrific

High risk – haven’t you seen byker grove???

karl

The next few months will tell us everything. Mikel has spent more money and had plenty of support, so all should be revealed before the end of the year.

My main worry is how low the entertainment value is. These players should be able to produce much more.

Qwaliteee

We’ve been told everything we all need to know already.

It’s just that it’s going to take yet another couple of months with some people for the pennies to finally drop…

Cobwebs

Excited to hear that Tomi is clean and transparent, because that will make him impossible find and mark at set pieces.

Daveo

I would assume he would still have to play in a uniform though…!?

Keni

Tomiyasu reminds me of Montreal. A really loveable character and top professional. Rarely was a world beater but was a consistent performer.

Keni

I meant Monreal. Nacho Monreal.