Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola backed Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta to come bouncing back after piling on the misery for his former assistant on Saturday.
Arteta endured one of his most chastening days since quitting City to take charge of the Gunners in December 2019 as they were thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium with Granit Xhaka sent off.
The result condemned Arsenal to their worst start to a season in 67 years and left them without a point – or even a goal – after their first three Premier League games.
The pressure is building on Arteta but, despite completely overpowering his old colleague’s side, Guardiola remains a staunch ally.
Arteta was a key member of Guardiola’s backroom staff as City won the Premier Leageue with a record 100 points in 2018 and followed up by claiming an unprecedented domestic treble the following year.
“We know our jobs, especially in the big clubs like Arsenal and Manchester City,” said Guardiola. “If you don’t win, always there are rumours.
“I’m not talking as a friend – which I am – but as a professional, and when I was working alongside him he helped me a lot to achieve what we achieved together.
“I learned a lot from him and he taught me many things that we are using right now. What we are now, Man City as a team, is thanks to him for what he has done.
“I don’t have any doubts. He is so strong, he will recover and I am sure he will be back on track.”
With Arsenal now not in action again until 11 September, there is likely to be a lot of soul-searching at the Emirates Stadium over the international break.