Kieran Tierney has said the Arsenal squad is optimistic about Arsenal’s future under Mikel Arteta and that the intensity of the training sessions at the club is ‘incredible’ in an interview with Sky Sports.
The Scottish full back has had a stop start debut season since joining Arsenal from Celtic on deadline day in the summer transfer window for £25 million. Tierney suffered an injury that ruled him out for four months right before Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery in the Arsenal hotseat.
The former Celtic man talked about the unfortunate timing of his injury just as the new head coach arrived at the Emirates:
“Obviously I was injured when he first came in and that was so unfortunate because you want to impress the new manager and get off to a good start. But even then, he was good with me. He watched me from afar and asked for updates on how I was doing. He’s been brilliant.”
During the lockdown, Arteta kept in touch with Tierney, who was nearing full fitness, and paid close attention to his progress. The Spaniard kept him engaged and gave him advice to improve his game. Tierney said:
“We did Zoom calls and he gave me stuff to work on and pointers to look out for in certain games.”
The Scotland international played in both of Arsenal’s behind closed doors friendlies against Charlton and Brentford ahead of the Premier League restart and after more than six months since his last competitive match for the Gunners was handed a start against Manchester City at the Etihad. He said:
“I was grateful for the opportunity he gave me against Manchester City. It was my first game in so long and a big game for the club, so for him to trust me was brilliant.”
Tierney has hailed Arteta’s methods and been blown away by the intensity of Arsenal’s training sessions. The club’s last two results have been poor and overall the season has been mediocre to say the least. The player, however, says the squad is confident that Arteta’s methods will return Arsenal to their former glories.
Arteta is attempting to change Arsenal’s style of play and turn them into an attacking side again. He is simultaneously trying to improve the team off the ball, an issue that has plagued the club for the last decade. His aim is to get them to press the way Manchester City and Liverpool do. His goals are lofty but the players are committed to what he is trying to do and working hard to absorb his ideas in training.
“It’s been an absolute joy to train with him. I feel as if I’m learning every single day. Every day in training you know you’re going there to work. There are times for a laugh and a joke – Mikel loves that as well – but when we’re working, we’re working. It’s a lot of tactical stuff as well, and that’s going to help us all get an understanding of how he wants us to play.”
“I’ve said before, something like that is not going to just work straight away, it’s going to be a process, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and we need to stay focused on that. There are going to be bad results and bad games, but as a team we need to keep the confidence, stick together and kick on again.”
Regarding Arsenal’s painful last minute defeat to Brighton a few days ago, Tierney said:
“Obviously it’s not the result we wanted or the result we had worked hard for, but it’s something we need to deal with.”
“The bus journey was quiet on the way home, but I think we’ve reacted well in training. We’ve got a point to prove and we need to go out there and get the results that the manager wants and the fans deserve.”
Arsenal head to Southampton tomorrow and the Arsenal left back says the team are desperate to pick up their first points since the Premier League restart and help Arteta realise his vision for the side.
“All the players are hurting, it’s a tough time for everyone at the club, but there are going to be better days ahead. The last two results haven’t been ideal, but the work-rate is still at 100 percent every day in training. We’re working so hard and we’re working to the game plan that the manager wants. We all believe in it and we’re all buying into it.”
Tierney was a substitute against Brighton and is expected to start tomorrow’s game against the Saints. Hopefully, he will inspire Arsenal to their first away win in the Premier League since the day he got injured at the Olympic Stadium when the Gunners ran out 3-1 winners against West Ham.
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