Mikel Arteta says he has had to adapt his tactical approach “much more” than he had anticipated since taking charge of Arsenal, due to the makeup of his squad.
Arteta left his role as assistant coach of Pep Guardiola’s very attacking side at Manchester City to take over at Arsenal in December 2019 and has had a largely successful start to his tenure, including winning the FA Cup.
However, a seven-game winless streak saw the pressure build on the Spaniard and his approach was called into question, before a 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day brought a much-needed respite to the Emirates. .
“I challenge myself every day,” Arteta said. “But since I came here, I first had to analyze very well what’s going on, what we can and what we can’t do.
“And I adapted a lot more than likely what I thought I was doing when I took the team, because there are some things that I think are much better for the qualities of the players that we have, and other things we are probably not prepared to do yet.
“Obviously we have to adapt because at the end of the day we have to make life as easy, as clear and efficient as possible for our players when they come onto this pitch.”
It was a young Arsenal side that defeated Chelsea on Boxing Day, with a combination of injuries and forced absences from coronavirus, forcing Arteta to make several changes to the side he had been lacking in recent weeks.
Scorer Bukayo Saka impressed with Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli as Arsenal intensity overwhelmed a colored-shifted Chelsea.
There had been some debate in the game over whether Arsenal were in a relegation battle, but Arteta’s side can now move out of the drop zone with away games against wrestlers Brighton and West Brom.
Arteta was coy as to whether the youngsters were likely to retain their place in the squad for Tuesday’s trip to Brighton, but was happy to have additional options as one of the busiest times of the season Premier League continues.
“I think there is a message within the team that everyone is important here, everyone is there to contribute, and everyone is helpful,” said Arteta.
“It doesn’t matter if you are young or senior, everyone is there to contribute.
“And I think it’s a great message for everyone that when we have to rely on them, we know we can rely on them and we have no doubts about them.”