Mikel Arteta has hailed Pep Guardiola as the bravest manager in football ahead of his reunion with the Manchester City boss when Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium.
Arteta will lead the Gunners for the first time against his former employers on Wednesday, having served as a key member of Guardiola’s backroom staff for a decorated three-and-a-half-year period.
The pair have remained in regular contact since Arteta stepped up to succeed Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium last December and he feels the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stands apart in the modern game.
“For me the first thing is his values as a person, that stands in front of everything,” he said.
“The way he treats the players, the way he treats people, the way he looks after the football club when he is there, that’s the first one.
“The second one is the clear ideas he has, how he is going to implement them and the plan he puts together to do that.
“And after because he is braver than any other manager and wants to take more risks and wants to play the way he wants and it does not matter what, he will maintain that line.
“I never heard a player doubt, ‘can we play like this or should we play like this’. They are all so convinced as he does not leave one drop of a doubt what needs to be done.”
“Obviously now I am in a different position, another bench and I will defend my club as well as I can.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 10, 2020
Arteta also praised the City hierarchy for backing Guardiola’s methods after a trophy-less first season in England in 2016-17, especially given six of the subsequent seven major domestic honours have ended up in east Manchester.
“After the first season I think the process was really good but we did not win any trophies. And instead of anybody above – owners, sporting directors, or anyone who were involved – doubting that [playing Guardiola’s style] was possible to do in England, they were all in,” he explained.
“This is the way that we want to do it. So that is good, your idea is good, but you need the backing of the football club to support your ideas and get your backing and put that plan to support and be successful. And look what happened after.”
Nevertheless, Arteta was keen to assert the side he is beginning to build at Arsenal will not simply amount to Guardiola-lite.
“If you copy paste it is always bad,” he added. “You have to be around every character and person. Everyone feels thing in different way.
“It is a completely different context with the situations at City and Arsenal. Different context and players. So I think it would be a bad thing to do from my side.”
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