Mikel Arteta: Arsenal boss says Jose Mourinho is still a world class manager

Mikel Arteta has defended Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho ahead of Sunday’s north London derby, insisting he is still a world class manager.

Arteta takes on Mourinho’s Spurs in his first derby match as Arsenal boss, live on Sky Sports, with both teams still in the race for European football following draws in midweek.

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July 12, 2020, 4:15pm

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Tottenham go into the derby on the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw against Bournemouth, with Mourinho’s tactics coming under scrutiny after his side failed to register a single shot on target during the stalemate.

Arteta says the former Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid manager’s track record cannot be dismissed and he expects Spurs to be successful under him given time.

“Absolutely [he’s still a world class manager],” he replied when asked if Mourinho is still the force he once was.

“They have had some up and downs, but overall you can clearly see what he wants to bring to the club.

“He manages the energy, the momentum and established a really strong culture in strong football club that does it.

“I have huge respect for Jose and what he’s trying to do. He makes sure that he wins and he has won at every single club he has been.

“I’m sure he will be successful. It will take him a bit of time.

“He has a very clear way of playing and how he manages games. Clean sheets is a big part of what he wants to do.

“They have had a lot of injuries, that’s a big disadvantage that they have.

“I know that he has done it [before]. I know people who have worked with him, he always finds a way to be successful. I’m sure he will do it again.”

‘Mourinho can end Spurs’ trophyless run’

Arteta was still playing for Everton when Spurs last lifted a trophy, winning the League Cup in 2008.

He admits he is surprised by their long wait to add further silverware but feels, in Mourinho, they have the proven winner they need to end that run.

“Yes, but they have been really close,” he replied when asked if Tottenham’s lack of trophies was a surprise.

“They have come so far as a club and as a team and they have been competing with top teams in Champions League finals, which is a huge thing to do.

“That’s probably one of the reasons that they have brought Jose in, because of his experience in dealing with those situations and having that extra edge to become a winning team.”

‘No concerns over Oliver after Jose comments’

Sunday’s game will be refereed by Michael Oliver, the VAR official who came under fire from Mourinho after he ruled out a Harry Kane goal against Sheffield United last week, and then opted not to give Tottenham a penalty in Thursday’s draw at Bournemouth.

Arteta refused to believe that Oliver’s decision-making process would be affected by his relationship with the Spurs boss.

“I never have any concern about the decision of the referee,” Arteta added.

“Nowadays, everything’s so professional, dedicated and they’re under so much pressure and criticism.

“I know they try their best with the decisions that they have to make. They’re getting more and more complicated because of the speed of the game and how quickly they have to react, and the pressure they have with the new VAR system as well.

“We’re here to support them, we need them, they’re a big part of that. Now we complain that we don’t have the fans and we realise how important they are, maybe one day we won’t have referees and we’re going to say, ‘Wow, they were crucial for this game to work’.

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