Tuesday, May 28News That Matters

Jose Mourinho takes aim at Mikel Arteta & questions his style at Arsenal

Jose Mourinho cautioned Mikel Arteta against viewing the defensive tactics employed in the draw with Manchester City as a guaranteed formula for success, emphasizing that it’s not a ‘magic strategy’.

Arsenal adopted a notably defensive approach against the reigning Premier League champions, securing a goalless draw despite only having 28 percent possession at the Etihad Stadium last month.

While many praised Arteta’s tactical prowess for limiting City to just one shot on target.

Mourinho remains skeptical, suggesting that Arteta’s strategy wasn’t particularly unique, given Mourinho’s own history of employing defensive setups during his time in the Premier League.

“I am happy because I like the kid,” Mourinho told The Telegraph of Arteta. “And I am happy everything goes for him. But the way they [Arsenal] played to get that point – and the way the media spoke about a magic strategy.

“In my time, it was not a magic strategy. And I won at Manchester City a few times. But it was not an amazing strategy. It was a defensive game. Park the bus. Park the double bus. It was a different perspective.

“How many central defenders do they have in the team? Sometimes they have six. As a matter of principle. Then they play in other positions. They play right-back, left-back, they play midfield. But they play with five or six central defenders on the pitch. They feel the need for defensive stability and a defensive compactness.”

While Mourinho criticized Arteta’s tactics against City, Arteta himself was pleased with the outcome. The Gunners’ manager praised his team for their defensive resilience, celebrating their ability to maintain a clean sheet.

“It was a thrilling game, a really tough match, a very demanding opponent but I think we competed really well. Defensively, I think we were outstanding. We had to go and put them under pressure higher up the pitch,” he said.

“I think we were really good and created a lot of difficulties. When they are that good that they get you in this low block, it’s very difficult to get out of that, they drop a lot of players and I think we prevented the spaces really well and that’s the difficulty.

“It’s the first time they haven’t scored at home in three years, so that’s the outstanding team that they are. And then the downside is that we had some big situations to score, and we didn’t make the most out of them and the next step is with the ball to have much more composure, especially in the first phase to attack better.

“It’s extremely difficult to do that but that tells you the commitment of every player, the discipline that they showed and how they compete. One thing is to play a football match and the other is to compete [in] it. Against this team, we did that today really, really well.”

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