Mikel Arteta drew criticism from pundits after he was involved in a furious altercation with Jurgen Klopp in last weekend’s Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal
Mikel Arteta vowed he will “always defend” his Arsenal players despite coming under fire for his angry exchange with Jurgen Klopp last weekend.
The Gunners manager clashed with Klopp after Sadio Mane fouled Takehiro Tomiyasu during the first half of Saturday’s Premier League encounter at Anfield.
The Liverpool boss was keen to draw a line under the incident as he spoke after full-time, but many pundits felt it was a key moment in the match which turned the tables in the hosts’ favour.
The touchline spat stirred the home fans and Reds players responded to this, turning on the style on their way to an emphatic 4-0 victory.
Prior to the bust-up, the two teams had been closely-matched, leading many to believe Arteta should have controlled his emotions better after Mane’s forceful challenge.
Did Mikel Arteta inadvertently spur Liverpool on by clashing with Jurgen Klopp? Have your say in the comments!
However, the Spaniard declared he will always fight to protect his players as he was pressed about the incident on Thursday morning.
“With the situation I had with Jurgen, I think you have to be spontaneous and do what you do,” Arteta said. “I will always defend my club, my team and the players on the pitch.”
Asked how his players responded to the flashpoint, he responded: “I don’t know, it’s who I am. If I feel like this, I will react and if I feel I have to defend my players then I would do it.”
Arteta was also quizzed on why he is much more calm in press conferences than he can appear on the touchline and replied: “Well, I don’t know. Maybe you don’t give me enough motives to go another way! But it’s part of our character.”
Arsenal’s defeat at Liverpool brought an end to their fine run of eight games without loss in the Premier League – and 10 in all competitions – which thrust them into the conversation for a top-four finish.
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Next up for the north London club is the visit of Newcastle United in Saturday lunchtime’s fixture, with the Magpies under new management following Eddie Howe’s appointment.
The Englishman was not on the touchline for the Magpies’ entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford last weekend because he had to self-isolate, but Arteta is wary of the growing “momentum” at St James’ Park.
He said: “It is a new game, obviously there are so changes happening there, you can see the momentum that is building and it is different.
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“You see the last game they played as well, you saw some different things: new manager, new coaching staff, so let’s be prepared.
“I admired Eddie for what he has done in the league, his style of play and the coaching staff as well, so I’m sure they will be fully prepared.”
Arteta also sent a message to Joe Willock, who left Arsenal to join Newcastle in a £25million transfer this summer, adding: “It will be really nice, we all love Joe. It was a difficult decision to let him go. He knows the reception he’s going to get.”