Mikel Arteta admits it will take time for Arsenal’s players to adapt to his methods but was encouraged by the early signs during his managerial debut.
Gunners boss Arteta watched his new side salvage a deserved 1-1 draw at Bournemouth thanks to a second-half equaliser from captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Spaniard, who last week left his role as Manchester City assistant coach to become Unai Emery’s permanent successor, is tasked with transforming the north London club’s fortunes following a wretched run of form.
✅ First game as our head coach— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 26, 2019
Arsenal have now won just one of their last 14 fixtures in all competitions, however Arteta is optimistic about the future after being pleasantly surprised by the application of his squad at the Vitality Stadium.
“I’m very pleased with some of the things I’ve seen in terms of attitude, character, the passion we showed, and the fight and the spirit the team showed,” said Arteta.
“(It was) spot on, probably better than I expected over 90 minutes.
“A lot of things that happened in the game we prepared, I think they understood them and they tried to take them on board and we liked the final product at the end.
💬 "The attitude was great but we have to improve in taking our chances.— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 26, 2019
“We have to analyse overall the performance and I think there are positives to take and obviously a lot of room for improvement in other areas.
“It will be a process.”
Arsenal, who spent Christmas in the bottom half of the table for the first time since 1983, enjoyed greater possession on the south coast but trailed to Dan Gosling’s 35th-minute strike after Bukayo Saka conceded possession.
Aubameyang equalised in the 63rd minute with his 12th Premier League goal of the season and his side’s first attempt on target.
Former Gunners captain Arteta was concerned how his team would respond to falling behind, fearing a setback could sap confidence and evoke memories of previous struggles.
“I was worried what would have happened if we conceded a goal, and we did, and I was very pleased with the character they showed, how they came in at half-time, their faces, their reactions, how much they wanted it,” said the 37-year-old.
“Because normally when they are in this process and you concede goal, belief goes down and a lot of things that have happened in the past can come back.
“And it didn’t happen, it happened completely the opposite side and that’s a real positive to take on board.”
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