New Arsenal boss Arteta demands accountability from players

Mikel Arteta

LONDON (Reuters) – Arsenal have a squad that can be improved but the players must take up responsibility and be accountable for their actions on the pitch if they are to be a part of the club’s future plans, new manager Mikel Arteta said on Monday.

In his first news conference last week, Arteta had demanded “passion and energy” from the players and the Spaniard said he was satisfied with what he saw during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Everton.

Arteta, 37, will make his managerial debut when 11th-placed Arsenal travel to Bournemouth on Thursday.

“I think that we have a really good team with a lot to improve,” Arteta told reporters. “I need them all on board. All the meetings we’ve had is to get everyone on board and so far I’m very happy with the reaction.

“What we are going to transmit to the team is accountability to play for this football club. This is the basic… We are much more committed. The body language (in the Everton draw) was much better and they had much more passion, that is non-negotiable.”

Arteta confirmed interim boss Freddie Ljungberg, who took charge for six games following Unai Emery’s sacking, will stay on as a member of the coaching staff.

“I spoke to him after the game,” Arteta added. “I told him who I want to bring in and I wanted to know what he was feeling. We decided the best thing would be for him to carry on with us.

“I knew him a little and we will start a new chapter and he was very positive.”

Arteta also said midfielder Mesut Ozil was a part of his plans despite Ljungberg’s unhappiness over the German’s conduct during Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat by Manchester City earlier this month.

Ozil kicked his gloves in frustration after being withdrawn in the 59th minute and Ljungberg said his unacceptable conduct would have prevented him from being selected at Everton had he been fit for the match.

“It’s a question for Freddie,” Arteta said. “I just wanted him to pick the best possible lineup for the game. You’re not going to be judged on what you done in the past, positive or negative.

“We will try to put the most competitive team out, we are to be ready and nullify them as much as possible.”