After watching us go through a tough second half that saw us concede a penalty and be rescued by VAR on another, Mikel Arteta was delighted to return to north London with a 1-0 win at Leeds United.
Bukayo Saka’s goal sealed the points that saw us extend our advantage at the top of the table to four points, but a gritty display saw us stave off our opponents who threw everything at us during a chaotic second half.
Reflecting on the game, Mikel said: “It was a really tough one. We knew that; we expected a really chaotic game in certain periods. We extended that period too much, especially in the second half.
“I think in the first half, we had some great moments, some incredible plays where we should have scored two or three goals, and we didn’t. Then the second half, we started right from the kick-off in a really bad way. We conceded a goal that was disallowed, and we never got any momentum. We put ourselves in trouble in the first regulation, especially in build-up.
“After that we never got a real kick of the game and be able to impose ourselves. But that said, as well, the resilience, the character, the personality, and as well, that willingness that I saw there from the players to win again, is what I really love.”
It’s often said that a good side finds a way to win when things aren’t going their way, and Mikel was delighted that was the case for us this afternoon, but also believes that our team spirit proved to be pivotal when the margins were so fine.
“I think in any context, every three days, you have to be able to do that [grind out ugly wins]. In Norway after travelling, playing on astroturf in really difficult conditions, changing a lot of players, and come here and do it again. It’s very tough unless you give the boys belief.
“Today we needed a bit of luck but for me, there is no luck. There is something behind this team, something behind the spirit of everybody that is involved in this team that gives that extra thing – that’s why good things happened.
“You see again, our crowd and how good they are with the boys. It’s just a pleasure to be part of this.”
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