Guardiola ‘a great influence’ for Arsenal’s Arteta
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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta admitted Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has had a big influence on his career ahead of their Premier League meeting at the Etihad Stadium.
The top flight resumes following a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, having been suspended days after the Gunners coach tested positive for the disease in early March.
And the north Londoners face a tough return to action against Arteta’s former club and the defending champions, having lost 3-0 on home soil in their December meeting.
Speaking of his relationship with Guardiola, Arteta told arsenal.com: “He was an influence for me since I was 15 years old and we met at Barcelona, both as players.
“And in my coaching career and my personal life, he has an enormous influence. If I have to talk about the person he is, his values, the way he has treated me and how he deals with the players and staff around him, it’s phenomenal.
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“As a coach, I have learned so much from him, we have spent some amazing moments together, some difficult ones as well, but the experience next to him has been incredible.”
Arsenal beat West Ham 1-0 in their last match before lockdown to make it 17 points from 10 matches in charge for Arteta, which left them unbeaten in 2020 and sitting in ninth place.
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A top-five finish is still within reach, which might be enough for a Champions League spot if City are unsuccessful in an appeal against a two-year ban for breaking Financial Fair Play rules.
And Arteta and rival bosses will be able to make up to five substitutions thanks to new rules brought in to deal with the need to play so many fixtures in such a short space of time, perhaps handing extra chances to younger players.
Arteta added: “So far everybody is okay, we will see how training goes to pick the right team and right squad.
“It is going to be different with the amount of substitutes that we can hae on the bench and the amount of substitutes that we can do, so we have to think about how we can do that.
“We’ve been working to try and maintain and improve the level that we were playing at before and improve the result as well, but there are some uncertainties that we don’t know how we’re going to respond to.
“We’ve been doing as much as possible to try to get into this moment with the best possible chance. They [younger players] have to keep developing and one of the biggest challenges is always consistency.
“They have been doing it for a certain period of time, for certain moments of certain games but to do it consistently for every three days for 94 or 96 minutes, that’s a different story.
“In order to do that and develop the right way, they need the right players next to them, with the right mentality, with the right qualities and with the right drive.
“That’s what we have to do, we have to give them the right foundations around them for them to be in order to feel free to develop, without the extra pressure they don’t need in these moments and they cannot carry on.
“We don’t give them too much responsibility too early, because there is always a risk to burn them.”