Albert Stuivenberg reveals Mikel Arteta's reaction to Man City loss

By Sean Walsh
Stuivenberg took charge in Arteta's absence
Stuivenberg took charge in Arteta's absence / Julian Finney/GettyImages

Arsenal assistant manager Albert Stuivenberg has said that Mikel Arteta was 'very proud' of the Gunners' battling performance in their late 2-1 loss at home to Manchester City on New Year's Day.

Arteta tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days and has been forced into self-isolation, watching Saturday's game from home and Stuivenberg taking charge instead.

Arsenal took a deserved first-half lead through Bukayo Saka before a catastrophic second period. Granit Xhaka was judged by VAR to have fouled Bernardo Silva which allowed Riyad Mahrez to equalise from the penalty spot. Gabriel received two foolish yellow cards soon after and Rodri netted a City winner in stoppage time.

But there were plenty of positives for Arsenal to take and Stuivenberg revealed in his post-match press conference that Arteta was pleased with what he saw.

"I was in touch with [Arteta] at the end,” the Dutchman said. "He’s very proud of the performance of the players, he really enjoyed the game, but of course also he’s very frustrated that we don’t end up with three points because at the end it’s all about that.”

Stuivenberg also said that Arteta was not in constant contact with him throughout the game, but the Spaniard's orders were still being directed to the team in some way.

“During the game, there was no direct line with Mikel, but we are always in contact with each other,” he added. “I do believe I’m famous for the earpods, so normally I’m in that situation that we’re always in contact with somebody from upstairs, or, in this case, from further away.

“This was the same for the Norwich game, people not involved in the stadium and we have contact there, not a direct line, but an indirect line with Mikel and in between of course, at half time, before the game and after the game Mikel has been in touch because he needs to be involved.

“In that case and we don’t do anything different, only Mikel physically is not here, that’s the only difference.”

Stuivenberg added that he's not sure whether Arteta will return in time for Arsenal's home tie with Liverpool in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday.