New Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta Discusses Accountability, Mesut Ozil at Presser

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

OXFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18:  Mikel Arteta, Assistant Manager of Manchester City looks during the Carabao Cup Quarter Final match between Oxford United and Manchester City at Kassam Stadium on December 18, 2019 in Oxford, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

New Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said he will hold his squad accountable and that Mesut Ozil remains a "massive" player for the Gunners.

Per the Guardian's Gregg Bakowski, Arteta made it clear he's only interested in working with players who have the right mentality: "I don't want people hiding. I want people taking responsibility for the job. Anybody that doesn't buy into this is not good enough for this environment or culture." 

Ozil will have a role to play, with Arteta referring to him as a "massive" figure for the Gunners. He also praised Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger as major influences.

Both Guardiola and Wenger have backed the Spaniard to have success as manager:

Arteta was announced as the new Arsenal boss on Friday, replacing interim manager Freddie Ljungberg. He will be staying at the club:

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Ljungberg replaced Unai Emery after his poor start to the season and guided the Gunners to a single win, against West Ham United. His last two outings were a draw against Standard Liege and loss to Manchester City, highlighting the need for a swift replacement.

Arteta has no experience as a head manager, having worked as an assistant to Guardiola at City the last few seasons. He said he's been preparing for the role, however:

"I'm extremely happy and proud to have been to been given the opportunity to be manager of this football club. I've been preparing for a few years now. I know the expectations. I've sensed good energy since I walked in at London Colney. [When leaving as a player], I said to the people [at Arsenal] 'I'm going outside [the club] I'm going to get prepared and then hopefully I'm going to come back one day when I feel prepared and ready."

He said his time at the Etihad Stadium taught him to be ruthless:

"What I have learned mostly is you have to be ruthless. I have so much respect for this football club that if I did not feel ready I would not be sitting in this chair. The first thing I have to do is change the energy. The players have to accept a different process, a different way of thinking. If we don't have the right culture the tree is going to shake."

Ozil's role at the club shrunk during Emery's time in charge, but Arteta's praise seemed to indicate the German could once again become a pivotal figure. He welcomed the new boss on Twitter:

Arteta faces a massive challenge in rebuilding Arsenal, who have won just five of their 17 Premier League matches this season. They currently sit in 10th place, seven points behind Chelsea and the last UEFA Champions League spot. 

He said the ambitions are to win trophies and play in Europe, but for now, those objectives seem far-fetched. Arteta's first task will be to rebuild a defence that has let in 27 goals already and is devoid of elite talent.

The January transfer market could provide some solace, and getting this deal done before the window opens will give the Spaniard the opportunity to have his say on potential targets.