Mikel Arteta not worried by Antonio Conte’s ‘mind games’2 min read
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is not willing to be drawn into mind games with Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte and is instead focused on getting the most out of his players.
Conte last week stated that Spurs would require “a miracle” to finish fourth place in the Premier League.
Tottenham increased the pressure on Arsenal by hammering Newcastle United 5-1 on Sunday to leapfrog their north London rivals into the final Champions League qualification spot.
However, the Gunners are only behind Tottenham on goal difference and have two games in hand, the first of those coming away at Crystal Palace on Monday.
Conte’s comments were perceived as being psychological tactics ahead of a potentially tense run-in that will see the fierce rivals do battle in a rescheduled game.
But Arteta, who was named Manager of the Month for March, is only interested in deploying such tactics internally.
“I don’t know if we are favourites [for the top four],” Arteta said. “That is a question for [Conte].
“But what we want to do is very clear and the perception of what people think is not going to change it.”
When asked if he is a manager who wants to engage in mind games, Arteta replied: “I do it more with my players, I think.
“I do it more with the players, if I have to, to get what I want from them. I can’t tell you how I do it because they will know what they are doing and that is the whole point!”
Arsenal have won six of their past seven games ahead of their trip to Palace, who are managed by Gunners midfield legend Patrick Vieira.
Arteta’s side have won each of their past five away top-flight matches, which is their best run since a streak of eight in a row between March and September 2013.
That is a remarkable turnaround following their worst start to a Premier League campaign when losing their first three games, and Arteta is confident his young squad can maintain their form.
“There is nothing different; they have already been dealing with [the pressure] for weeks,” he said.
“This is a conversation we have had now for over six to eight weeks, so they have already been through that and have responded really, really well.
“There is nothing new because they have already been doing it and capable of doing it.”
Arsenal have lost just one of their past 16 away league games against Palace (W8 D7), though that defeat did come in a Monday game back in April 2017 (3-0).