Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has unloaded on the media, blasting reporters for trying to drive a wedge between him and his players before Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea.
In the build-up to the game, Arteta was asked whether he felt his players had given him maximum effort this season, to which he replied: “With the majority of them, yes. Some of them can get to a certain level and you cannot push them any further. You want to evolve them but it’s not possible.”
Those comments ended up in articles claiming Arteta had hit out at the effort of his players, supposedly blasting some in the dressing room for letting him down. Understandably, the boss wasn’t best pleased, and his post-match interview got a little heated.
“Nothing is broken. Inside, nothing is broken,” he told Sky Sports. “They [the media] try to put things on me that I never said.
“You can see the spirit of the team from the first minute. It doesn’t matter whether we’re playing seventh, eighth, ninth. You can never doubt their efforts and how much they are trying.
“I said that if I don’t get 120% off each player, it’s my fault and my responsibility, but it wasn’t [portrayed] like that in the press and I am so annoyed with that. I will defend my players in front of anybody for the rest of the time that I’m here. They deserve that because they earn it every single day.
“Every player that is here does that. If he doesn’t, he is not here, because the only thing I’m going to demand until the last day is that they give me everything that they have. That is unquestionable and non-negotiable, 100%.”
Arteta went on to insist that his players proved they are prepared to give their all for the cause in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea, which saw the Gunners dig deep and defend for almost the entirety of the game.
“They [the media] are not going to break [our team spirit],” he continued. “They can try, but they’re not going to break that. Not the chemistry that we have – not only with the players but with our staff, with the board. They can’t touch that. If they try to touch it, it can be with opinions, but not by saying something that I never said. I’m not taking that.
“I am really happy with a lot of things we’ve done [against Chelsea]. Right from the first minute, the attitude and the desire that we showed.
“We had to dig in, which you have to against this team because they are a fantastic team. We did it and we gave everything we had to try to do the best possible job and we did it.
“It’s a big win for the club, for the players and for the fans. I know how much a London derby means and it’s been ten years since we’ve won at this ground so that tells you how hard it is.”