Gunners manager Mikel Arteta claims it’s Jose Mourinho’s “mentality” that makes him stand out from all other managers, speaking to the official Arsenal website.
Speaking ahead of the first north London derby, which takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend, Arteta praised his opposite number, who he worked under as a player.
“We spent some time together in Barcelona and, obviously, we’ve played against each other a million times,” Arteta said.
“I admire (Mourinho). I think what he’s done in the game is incredible. It’s remarkable.”
Mourinho’s main strength
Asked the reasons behind the Tottenham manager’s success during his career, Arteta thinks the Portuguese coach’s mindset is his key strength.
Arteta said: “He’s brave and then he has an edge to be able to transmit a mentality to everyone to keep winning. That mentality, for me, is what makes him really special.”
Mourinho isn’t universally popular, with some criticising perceived negative tactics. Arteta sees things differently, though.
The 38-year-old feels Mourinho deserves respect for what he has done in the game.
“He’s someone I think in football we have to appreciate and admire,” the Arsenal manager added.
Uphill task for Arsenal
Mourinho and Arteta will meet as managers for only the second time, in the 4.30pm kick-off on Sunday. In the rivals’ last meeting in July, Mourinho emerged victorious when Toby Alderweireld scored the winner in a 2-1 win for Spurs.
As in July, Tottenham enter this contest in better form. Mourinho’s men haven’t lost in the league since the opening day and sit on top of the table. They have kept clean sheets in each of their last three games.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have lost half of their first ten Premier league matches and have struggled for goals.
The FA Cup holders have netted just once in their last three fixtures, leaving them eight points adrift of their arch rivals. The Gunners certainly won’t be used to entering a north London derby as underdogs.