I defend my players and the club

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has responded to criticism of his touchline behavior by saying he cares about the club’s reputation but has to stand up for his players.

The north London club received two FA charges during the week for “failing to ensure that their players behaved appropriately” in their matches against Newcastle United and Oxford United.

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Arteta himself came under fire from pundits after his side were not awarded a penalty late on against Newcastle, and the 40-year-old said it was his duty to protect his players.

– I care a lot about the club’s reputation in particular, he said. “I am who I am and I try to do my best to defend the players, defend the club and if it comes to some people that they don’t like it. Certainly, if everyone would like it, it’s not very good, I think.

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“It’s not that I don’t care, but I care a lot more especially when I’m doing my job, when I’m sitting at home, I care about my wife’s things and people’s things, but you don’t see it.

“But when I’m in public, I care a lot. What we can do is the best for the club and the best to defend the players, and that’s my role as well.”

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Arteta refused to comment directly on the FA allegations, but said the necessary discussions were taking place to ensure the club was on its best behaviour.

“Anything we can do to improve, we always talk to our players and staff to see what we can do better to change our behavior,” Arteta added.

Arsenal face Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday, returning to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time since their 3-0 defeat in May.

Arteta said his players are in a “good emotional state” and have a “great opportunity” to overturn a poor record that has not seen them beat Spurs away from home since 2015.

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“We’ve won places in recent years that we haven’t won in years,” Arteta said.

“We have a great opportunity on Sunday to get that. They approach games differently. Sometimes aggressive from the start.”

“Sometimes they help you make a play. They have a lot of tools to create problems. We prepare the best way we can and then it’s up to the players to do what they have to do.”

Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League heading into the weekend, while Spurs are fifth – two points off the top four.


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