First mid-season loss not enough to change Arteta’s mind about squad progress

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is pleased with how his side has looked in their mid-season games despite their recent 2 – 0 loss to Juventus.

The Gunners lost their last mid-season game to the Serie A giants on Saturday afternoon and will return to the Emirates to prepare for the resumption of the Premier League season on Boxing Day following the World Cup break.

The loss to Juventus was their first and only loss in their mid-season tour and while it looked like problems for the side, Arteta was only focused on the positives. The Spaniard believes the team has progressed very well and are ready for the resumption of the league.

He admitted that the team lacked sharpness in the final third, however, but believes their showing against Juventus and in mid-season training positions them well for the visit of West Ham United on Boxing Day.

He told “The scoreline probably doesn’t reflect at all what happened in the game, but this is football. They had one shot and scored two goals.

“We did a lot of really good things, especially from box to box but we weren’t ruthless enough in either. I think we had 19 shots and only two on target, so it’s clear what we have to improve, but we did a lot of positive things in the match to get a much better outcome.

“I think the way the boys are training and playing, it’s really positive. Today is a setback but perhaps it’s better to happen today rather than in any competitive match, but we’ll work on it, talk about it and improve.”

Arteta took the time to try out some of the club’s youth players in their mid-season tour. Against Juventus, Amario Cozier-Duberry and Ethan Nwaneri were given a run and both shone following their appearances from the bench.

The manager praised them and all the other under-21 players who participated in the mid-season training camp and games. “They are adapting to it. Today we had some good examples of some players that played some more minutes, so it’s good,” he said.

“We need to keep exposing them when there are good opportunities to see where they are right now, and it gives us a lot of information.”

He also spoke on the fitness problems in the squad, especially about Reiss Nelson, who is the latest to pick up an injury.

“Physically everybody is ready,” he revealed. “We had a little issue today with Reiss which is a shame because he was in really good shape, but now the last few players are coming back to us in the next few days. They’ll jump in and train and we’ll get them ready to go.”




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