‘We might get a few coaches after this’ – Mikel Arteta piling homework on squad

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has revealed he has set his players ‘homework’ as they continue to train alone due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Gunners, like all professional clubs, have their squads working on training regimes in the home after the football season ground to a halt following the spread of the virus.

Arteta tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago but has now recovered and he has spoken about how he is in constant contact with his backroom staff and players to continue as normally as possible in such trying times.

“There are different aspects that we have to try to maintain,” Arteta, who turned 38 on Thursday, said.

“There is the psychological support that they need, which we are giving them, and as well I’m giving them a lot of homework to do because I’ve been reviewing everything that we’ve been doing since I joined.

“There are things we have to maintain doing, improve and develop, and individually they are really enjoying the challenge.

“We might get a few coaches after this virus, or at least a few players that are willing to go down that path, because I think they are really enjoying the process.

“In difficult moments is where you really see the people and how they react, how they think and how they prioritise things.

“All the phone calls I’m having with all the members of the board and all my technical staff, all the coaching staff, all the players, how aware and how encouraged they all are to try to help, to try to be on board with the situation and to try to make things easier for the club has been amazing.”

Arteta, whose wife – as well as his children’s nanny – also contracted coronavirus, was self-isolating before the government called for people to remain at home and has had a while to adapt to the situation.

While setting tasks for his squad has been an important part of his job, he also revealed how he has enjoyed being able to spend more time with his young family as a result.

He added: “I have three kids with a lot of energy! They are 10, seven and four so you can imagine! I am a very positive person and I try to take the moment to say ‘OK, what can we take from this? What’s the lesson here and what’s the opportunity for us?’

Arteta has been unable to get out on the training ground with his players of late.
Arteta has been unable to get out on the training ground with his players of late.

“For 17 years, I haven’t had the opportunity to wake up with my kids and spend a lot of time, dedicate my time and listen to them. You know, do their homework with them and the same with my missus.

“So this is a great opportunity. There are no excuses. We are in the household together and we are really enjoying those moments as well.

“I think we are all realising how much we need each other. We are in a world here where everything is social media, everything is a WhatsApp text.

“But how important is touching each other, feeling each other and hugging each other? I miss that a lot with a lot of people that I love.

“I cannot do it now and I am sure that will transform a little bit of how people behave with their close ones.”