Thierry Henry has praised Mikel Arteta’s job at Arsenal so far, saying he has brought happiness back to the Emirates, but urged him to continuing dealing with issues – not least Mesut Ozil.
The FA Cup holders have enjoyed a solid start to the new season and sit just four points off top spot in the Premier League, while they have been virtually flawless in their Europa League campaign so far.
Henry believes Arteta is doing an excellent job, even likening him to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, but says there is still plenty of work needed before they are the finished article.
‘First and foremost, you can see an identity, a togetherness,’ Henry told CBS Sports podcast Que Golazo.
‘When you’re going to be the boss after the big man, so obviously Unai Emery was but now it’s Arteta, it’s not easy to go after Arsene Wenger, it’s not easy at all.
‘But what I see with Mikel is that the passion is back, the happiness is back, obviously he gave them a good solidity.
‘Now he needs to deal with what he needs to deal with: the Ozil case and other cases. That doesn’t happen overnight.
‘When you inherit a team from someone, you need to make sure you can clear some stuff, because it just doesn’t happen overnight.
‘And then people are like “Oh, oh, oh, he didn’t give all those contracts to some of those players”. So he needs to make sure he needs to bring the players that he needs to adapt to his system. And that takes time.
‘And on top of everything, in this league it takes even more time because the competition is crazy. I don’t know when was the last time where, after six games, every team already lost a game.
‘Every team already lost a game – I don’t remember that. It means what it means, it’s not easy for even the teams that are well prepared, well organised.’
He added: ‘Like I always say, the game is long. To build a team it doesn’t happen just like that overnight. I always use Klopp as an example. I remember when he first arrived, he couldn’t hold a lead. They would be 3-0 up, 3-3. They score, they concede four.
‘Took him two-and-a-half to three years to have a completed team. Now everybody respects what he does – and rightly so by the way because he’s a hell of a manager – but then from them understanding what he wanted he went and bought pieces that were missing: Van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho, and some others now.
‘But at the beginning it took him two-and-a-half years or so for them to understand his philosophy, because it doesn’t happen overnight.’
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