Mikel Arteta reveals he turned to Sir Alex Ferguson for inspiration during Arsenal’s title hunt

‘Words mean absolutely nothing, we have to do it on the pitch’: Mikel Arteta reveals he reached out to Sir Alex Ferguson in Arsenal’s title hunt, who praised the legendary manager’s ‘brutal honesty’ ahead of Sunday’s clash with Man United

  • Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal currently sit five points clear at the top of the league
  • They face a tough test against title chasers Manchester United on Sunday
  • It is the biggest game between the two teams since Alex Ferguson’s tenure

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has tried to elicit Sir Alex Ferguson’s “brutal honesty” as Arsenal prepare to face Manchester United on Sunday.

A win for the Gunners tomorrow would put them eight points clear at the top of the league, while a win could see United level on points with second-placed Man City.

It is the most important clash between the sides in over a decade, possibly eclipsing the Red Devils’ 8-2 win in the 2011 game that confirmed Arsene Wenger’s side as a team in decline.

Mikel Arteta has led Arsenal to the top of the Premier League by five points

Mikel Arteta has led Arsenal to the top of the Premier League by five points

He was inspired by the

He was inspired by the “brutal honesty” of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Arteta joined the Emirates as a player shortly after that game and has now reflected on how it affected his time at the club.

“Sometimes circumstances are necessary for someone to have the opportunity,” he said.

“Unfortunately it had to be 8-2 because it was a great result. I don’t think it was just the result that got me here, but it probably helped. After that, the rest is history.”

That win came towards the end of Ferguson’s tenure at United and Arteta has since spoken out about how impressed he was with the manager’s outspoken style.

Sunday's clash between United and the Gunners will be the biggest since Ferguson's retirement

Sunday’s clash between United and the Gunners will be the biggest since Ferguson’s retirement

He added: “What really drew me in was his presence, his charisma and the way he spoke. How honest and brutal he was with certain opinions he had about players and the game.

“I had a few conversations, not formally but with people around him, and it was more listening than talking.”

Sunday’s game not only gives Arsenal a chance to widen their buffer against the chasing pack but also to show they can win big games at home.

Their record is hard to fault this year but Arteta’s side recently dropped points at home to Newcastle and were beaten by United at Old Trafford last season.

Arsenal can go eight points clear with a win but face one of their toughest tests yet

Arsenal can go eight points clear with a win but face one of their toughest tests yet

They also have yet to play City, which means there are some doubts about their ability to hold their own against other title challengers.

Addressing this ahead of the game, Arteta continued: “It’s very important to have the mentality and ability to control emotions that it takes to play on the big stage.

“The physical aspect is also necessary. Without that you can’t compete over 11 months under the conditions we work under.

“We haven’t been in a title race for many years. Words mean absolutely nothing, we have to do it on the pitch.

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Maureen Mackey

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