Mikel Arteta feels like he is “back home” after being appointed Arsenal’s new head coach and declared himself ready for the challenge ahead.The former Gunners captain was named Unai Emery’s permanent successor on a three-and-a-half-year deal on Friday, seeing him return to the club he represented for five years as a player.
Arteta has worked as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City since July 2016 and is ready to make the move into management, starting with the top job at Arsenal.
“I feel back home. I’m extremely happy and proud to have been given the opportunity to be manager of this football club,” he told a news conference yesterday.“I’ve been preparing for a few years for this challenge to come. I know what this club deserves. I’m ready for the challenge. I can’t wait to start working with the players.
“If I didn’t feel ready and prepared I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair. I completely understand the fans’ concerns. I will give every drop of blood for this football club to make it better.”Arteta watched his new side up close last weekend as City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Emirates Stadium, a defeat that leaves Arsenal 10th in the Premier League.
The Gunners have won just one of their past 12 matches in all competitions and Arteta – who will take charge for the first time against Bournemouth on Boxing Day – acknowledged a massive improvement is needed.“The first priority is to change the energy,” he said. “Last week I was here with Manchester City and I felt a little bit down.
“I want to get everybody in the club with the same mindset. We have to build a culture that sustains the rest.“My job is to convince everybody that this is how we’re going to live. If you’re going to be part of this organisation it’s going to be this way.“We need the fans. We need to engage them, to transmit our behaviour and intention. That’s the only way they’ll give us a little bit and we’ll feel that connection.”
“When you’re outside this football club you look at it and think wow, this is massive.”Asked if he feared Arsenal have lost their identity since the exit of long-serving boss Arsene Wenger 19 months ago, Arteta replied: “That’s what I’m sensing from the outside.
“I’d like to understand the reasons why and to implement certain things that are quick wins for the players, staff and everybody else.”And Arteta, who won two FA Cups during his playing days at Arsenal, admitted he has Wenger to thank for setting him on the path that led to his appointment in north London.
“When I was playing in England, I started to realise what Arsenal meant,” he said. “I was born in Barcelona and the club that had most similar style, values and vision was Arsenal.“So I was telling the people around me that I had a dream and it was to play for this club. And it was one man, his name is Arsene Wenger, that believed in me and gave me the opportunity to play for this club.“After that he made me captain and I wouldn’t be sitting here if he didn’t have the vision to give me the opportunity to enjoy this incredible club.”