Arteta delighted with courageous Arsenal youngsters after FA Cup win over Bournemouth
PUBLISHED: 14:43 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:43 28 January 2020
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Mikel Arteta was delighted with Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Bournemouth on Monday night, with the Gunners boss praising his courageous young side.
First half goals from Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah secured the win despite Sam Surridge's late strike setting up a nervy ending, and Arteta was pleased with the performance at Dean Court.
"I am very pleased. I knew it was going to be tough here," he said.
"We played a really young squad today and I wanted to see the reaction.
"I'm very pleased because I saw a lot of things that I really liked.
"In the first half I think we were really, really good. I think they executed everything that we planned in a really good way."
Arteta named a young side with five players aged 20 or under included in the starting XI on the south coast and they made a big impact on the game.
The Arsenal boss is delighted with their contribution throughout his reign so far, praising their courage and describing them as the core of the team.
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"They have courage to play, they have courage to make big decisions," he said.
"They are important in this side. They are not the icing on the cake, no no, they are probably the core of that team at the moment and to play with that accountability and decision, I really like it.
"They were terrific. Their work rate as well.
"For me it's the courage to play, you know, to make big decisions, to not be scared and play safe.
"That's the difference with these three kids. Eddie (Nketiah) again was terrific and Joe (Willock) as well.
"I really like Joe in that position. I think he can be an outstanding player playing there and he showed that tonight."
Victory on Monday night means the Gunners will travel to League One Portsmouth in the fifth round, and Arteta hopes his side can put together a good cup run to boost confidence.
"It gives you a lift. You go an extra round and look at the next opponent," he said.
"You are closer to Wembley which is a magnificent day, let's go step by step but they are really willing.
"I had that experience as a player, and I want to experience it as a manager now."