Pablo Mari may have struggled to win over Mikel Arteta but the centre-back continues to laud his compatriot as a manager who is going places.
Recruited by Edu from Brazilian side Flamengo, Mari was the first signing of the Arteta era at Arsenal and maintains he enjoyed his spell in London even though he only made 22 appearances during two and a half years.
Currently on loan at Italian side Monza, Pablo says he’s now able to implement the teachings of his former manager who he says has reshaped his relationship with football.
“To tell you the truth, he has been one of the coaches who has changed my vision of football,” the Spaniard told AS.
“He has given me a lot when it comes to playing football. He has tactically given me another point of view. I have done a two-year masterclass with him, and that means that now I can help my colleagues better.
“What matters in football is that a coach can give you the tools so that you can do your best in the game. I think that’s what he does. He is a coach who gives you just three details before the match…and they work. What he says is what then happens.”
Having excelled on loan for Udinese in the second half of last season, it’s unsurprising that the 29-year-old is getting regular starts for newly-promoted Monza. It sounds like he’s loving Italy but he’s still keeping tabs on the Gunners.
“Yes, I watch all the games, I really like watching football. They are at a stratospheric level and the results of Arteta’s two-year work are being seen.
“For me, the key has been time. They have given Arteta time, time for this project. Obviously, it is not easy to change the culture of a club as big as this in a year, but there were many problems to solve.
“Arteta has done very well, he has earned it and this is the work of two years. It doesn’t surprise me at all because when I was there you could already see that their way of working was going to give them a lot of joy.”
He added: “Having been a footballer, he knows how a dressing room works. Because he has been in situations of having people who don’t play, who get injured a lot, who don’t take care of themselves…he deals with these types of aspects in a different way after having lived through them. He understands the footballer better.”