Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has hit back at criticism of his passing behaviour, saying he cares about the club’s reputation but has to defend his players.
The north London club were hit with two FA charges during the week for “failing to ensure the proper conduct of their players” in matches against Newcastle United and Oxford United.
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Arteta himself was criticized by pundits after his explosive reaction when his side were not awarded a late penalty against Newcastle, and the 40-year-old said it was his duty to protect his players.
“I care a lot about the reputation of the club,” he said. “I am who I am and I try to do my best to defend the players, to defend the club and if it comes with some people that they won’t like it. Of course if everyone likes it, it would like it.” i think it won’t be very good.
“It’s not that I don’t care, but I care a lot more, especially when I’m doing my job, when I’m sitting at home, I care about my wife’s things and people’s things, but you don’t see that.
“But when I’m in the public eye, I care a lot. What we can do is the best for the club and the best to protect the players, and that’s my role as well.”
Arteta declined to comment directly on the FA’s allegations but said the necessary talks were underway to enable the club to do the best they could.
“Anything we can do to improve, we will always talk to our players and staff to see what we can do better to change any behaviour,” Arteta added.
Arsenal face Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday, returning to Tottenham Hotspur for the first time since their 3-0 defeat in May.
Arteta said his players were in a “good emotional state” and had a “great chance” to improve their poor record, which has not seen them win away to Spurs since 2015.
“In recent years we’ve won in places where we haven’t won in years,” Arteta said.
“We have a great opportunity to get one on Sunday. They approach games differently. Sometimes aggressive from the start.”
“Sometimes they let you make a play. They have a lot of tools to create problems. We’re going to prepare the best way we can and then the players have to do what they have to do.”
Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of the weekend, while Spurs are fifth – two points off the top four.