Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta worked together for three years at Manchester City
Pep Guardiola claims working with Mikel Arteta has made him a “better manager” ahead of Friday’s FA Cup reunion.
Guardiola’s men at Manchester City host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in round four, the first game of the season between the current top two sides in the Premier League.
Arteta will return to Manchester for the game, having spent three years working as Guardiola’s assistant after he ended his playing career in 2016.
The Gunners boss has spoken about the impact of his former mentor and how their partnership helped him become manaaaaaager, after leaving City for Arsenal in 2019.
It wasn’t just a one-way street, with Guardiola revealing he had the same benefits from working alongside his Spanish compatriot.
“He said he wanted to work together and he could help because he knows the Premier League perfectly, he knows all the managers,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“I remember the first game, we played against Sunderland and against David Moyes. He said he knew him well from Everton, he did this, he did that, all strategy and part of it.
“After 15 minutes, half an hour, I knew he was the only one who helped me. If you have someone who can anticipate and know what it’s like to go to Stoke City, go to every stadium, a guy who has been there for years.
“So we started working together. I don’t know what role I played for him but his influence on me was huge, very big and very important to be a better manager.”
Even during his years with City, Guardiola knows Arteta has remained loyal to Arsenal, where he is the former club captain. Guardiola revealed Arteta has never celebrated a goal against a team he captained in the last two years of his playing career.
“I know he went to his team, his club, the team he dreams of. He’s a supporter, he played there, he was captain there, he loves the club,” said Guardiola.
“I remember when we worked together here we scored a lot of goals and he was always jumping and celebrating, except against one team. Against this team we scored, I jumped, I turned.” and he’s sitting there – it’s Arsenal.”
Arteta has made Arsenal the team to beat in the Premier League this season, with the Gunners five points clear of City, also having a game in hand.
Guardiola says Arteta’s move to Arsenal makes perfect sense.
“It’s like me, if I train here as an assistant coach and Barcelona call me, I will go,” said Guardiola. “This is my club. I’m not one to say he has to stay here with me, he has a contract. People have to fly when they believe it’s best for them.”
“To the players I’ve said it many times, if they’re not happy they have to go. Life is too short, especially for players, to spend time in a place you don’t like, it treats you badly or whatever. That’s it. that.”