Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has admitted that his players may be benefitting from playing behind closed doors.
The Gunners endured a dismal return to action after football’s enforced three-month breaks because of coronavirus, with back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Brighton. But four wins on the bounce since has propelled the Gunners up to seventh in the Premier League, while Sheffield United were also dispatched to book a Wembley date in the FA Cup semi-finals.
Arteta has now admitted, ahead of the game with Leicester at the Emirates Stadium, that his players may be performing better with the pressure of performing in front of supporters now lifted.
“I think for some of them, yes,” Arteta said, as quoted by the Telegraph. “When they play in front of 80,000 people it is much harder, mostly when they are on the ball or the ball is coming close to them.
“Others need that extra motivation, extra pressure and extra passion to perform better. Every player is different.”
Arteta also commented on the future of Dani Ceballos, who is currently on loan from Real Madrid. As it stands, the Spaniard is due to return to his homeland at the end of the 2019/20 season, but the former Manchester City assistant manager admitted that he wants to extend the agreement between the two clubs.
“Yeah, we are talking to the club,” Arteta added, quoted by the Guardian. “Obviously we don’t own the player, he’s not in our hands so the clubs will need to have a communication and see what we can do.
“I’m really happy with him, the way he’s evolving, and I love how much he likes to play football – the passion he puts into every training session and every game, you just have to see his celebrations. I think he’s evolving in the right way and he’s becoming a really important player for us.”
One player who is unlikely to be at Arsenal next season is Matteo Guendouzi, with the club actively looking to move on the Frenchman after his recent antics at Brighton.