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'I don't want them hiding' - Arteta delivers warning to underperforming Arsenal stars

2:30 AM GMT+4 21/12/2019
Mikel Arteta, Man City logo
The new Gunners boss wants to instil a new mentality at Emirates Stadium following his arrival from Manchester City

Mikel Arteta has warned his Arsenal players that they will be swiftly moved on if they don’t buy into his ideas.

The Spaniard was confirmed as the new head coach at Emirates Stadium on Friday and delivered an impressive first press conference as he was unveiled to the world’s media.

Arteta spoke at length about how he views things at his former club - admitting he was left saddened by what he witnessed last weekend when Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 success in north London.

“It wasn’t only the performance, it was the atmosphere and energy. That worried me a little bit,” said the 37-year-old, who left the Premier League champions to sign a three-and-a-half year contract with the Gunners.

“I understand that they [the fans] are used to success and fighting for things and at the moment it’s difficult for them to swallow the situation.”

Arteta is well aware that wholesale changes are needed at Arsenal to bring the good times back to London’s most successful club.

He met his new squad briefly on Friday morning and will watch Saturday’s game at Everton from the stands before taking the reins from Freddie Ljungberg on Sunday.

The former midfielder - who made 150 appearances for the Gunners between 2011 and 2016 - says his first priority will then be trying to change the mentality that has seen the side consistently struggle to live up to expectations.

And he is adamant that anyone who does not buy into his ideas, will not stay around for long.

“I have my ideas that I would like to keep to myself because I have to corroborate them when I see them act, when I see them behave, when I see them live together,” Arteta explained.

“I want to do things my way but by convincing them that's it's the right way for everybody to live better. Everybody has to respect each other first of all, and I want people who are accountable for what I'm asking for them to do.

“I don't want them hiding, I want people to take responsibility for their jobs and I want people who deliver passion and energy in the football club.

“Anyone who doesn't buy into this, or that has a negative effect or whatever, is not good enough for this environment or this culture.”

Arsenal’s new head coach added: “There are things to change, absolutely, because they're not performing at the level that we expect them to.

“I will have to help them and to help them I need to know what's happening, I need to understand how they're feeling, what they're lacking.

“If I get to reach that point, then I can help them. Then they will trust me and then they will follow me.”

Arsenal currently find themselves 10th in the Premier League having won just one of their last 12 games in all competitions.

Another season outside of the Champions League looks highly like, unless they can go on and win the Europa League, and Arteta accepts that star players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette could look to leave unless things improve.

“Probably, but that’s a consequence of what we have been talking about,” he said. “If we can create and build a culture where everybody is accountable we can bring some leadership in to the team and some expectations and put some passion and clear direction in to what we do and then we create an identity.

“If they feel part of that identity they will want to stay as they will enjoy it. At the moment, I feel as though they suffer a little bit. When you are suffering, sometimes you want to go away. When you enjoy you want to be part of something.”

Arteta’s arrival comes 19 months after he was overlooked for the job in favour of Unai Emery.

He was just 35 at the time of his initial interview and admits that what he went through in 2018 made him better prepared for the process this time around.

Head of football at the Emirates, Raul Sanllehi, was involved in the selection process in both 2018 and 2019 and insists he has no regrets at overlooking Arteta first time around.

“I do not like to look to the past, I like to look to the future and at that time we made a decision with the information we had – it is not time to regret,” Sanllehi said.

“We made a decision conscious of what we wanted at that time and we are now conscious and convinced of what we are doing now.

“We spent many hours talking with him. He made a perfect presentation about his analysis of Arsenal, and how he thought that he could readdress the situation and he convinced us completely.

“There is always risk but in a general way, not because of how many years he has been a coach or not a coach.

“I think he is a very experienced person, actually. He has an incredible experience of the Premier League, he knows it inside and out, he knows all the coaches, all the teams.

“He has been with arguably one of the best coaches in the world and he is not been having a passive role with him. On the contrary. He has been actively involved. I know that from him but I know that from many other sources. He had been a real part of that coaching team.

“We feel very confident with what we’ve heard to make a very clear decision for him. It was very clear.”