Mikel Arteta was once again keen to highlight the importance of fan support as he spoke ahead of the visit of Leeds on Sunday.
It’s been a consistent message from the manager since he took over, but even more so this season when stadiums have been full again. He has worked hard to cultivate it, through what he has said and what he’s done with the team this season, and he made it abundantly clear again how crucial he views their role.
Asked about the backing the team get from the terraces, he said, “It is lifting us. That chemistry and that connection is growing every single week, and you can sense that the players certainly do too.
“They talk about the difference that it makes to play in the stadium, but even when we are away from home the incredible support that we get. That was something that we were missing in the last two years, we discussed that many, many times.
“In my opinion that is the game changer, it’s their energy and their emotions towards the team that is really contagious.”
Earlier, as he discussed his new contract with the official site, Arteta sang a similar tune about the fans.
“For me they have been the tsunami of this project,” he said.
“For two seasons we haven’t had them, so with the way I want the team to play, with the balance we have established, and I want people to lead the club in the way I believe we should be leading it.
“Without them it was impossible to do it. So from the moment we have had them close to us, they have sensed and felt that energy and that way of now representing the club to a much deeper level.
“That’s when a sense of belonging from the fans becomes natural, and that’s why everything clicked in my opinion to go and perform to the level that we are doing now.”