Mikel Arteta has revealed that he is trying to find the right balance between experimenting with his team, building fitness and winning matches during this pre-season campaign.
Arteta has guided Gunners to three wins out of three so far this summer, and he is hoping to maintain that run during their time in Orlando where they’ll take on Orlando City and Chelsea in the Florida Cup Series.
And while these summer months are all about tinkering with tactics as well as increasing fitness levels, the Spaniard admits that he is keen to keep building a winning mentality so is leaving no stone unturned during his preparations for the game against the hometown team on Wednesday evening.
“They are test matches so we want to try different things and get the boys up to speed physically,” he said. “We’re starting to build the minutes ready for the league and at the same time compete against two good teams.#
“We need to get the right impression and the right understanding, and then we start to be better as a team. They’re very talented, but at every point, every game has to be won.
“We’ve been watching [Orlando]; we watched the game they played last Saturday and the previous Saturday. The squad has evolved a lot in the last few years, and it is a beautiful stadium so it should make for a good match.”
As well as getting his squad into shape ahead of the big kick-off in just over two weeks’ time, Arteta has also been involved in shaping his squad with the transfer window in full swing.
When pressed about potential arrivals, he said: “We’re in the market to keep improving the squad but there are so many parties involved and sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as you want.”
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On the topic of outgoings, including running the rule over some of those players who were loaned out last season, the boss added: “Every player that is contracted by the club is treated in the same way, and everybody said on day one that this is a clean sheet to start to build what they want to build at this football club. Then we have to make decisions in relation to their needs and the levels that they show.”
Speaking of levels, Arteta was thrilled with the atmosphere generated byArsenal’s supporters in Baltimore during the 2-0 victory against Everton last weekend, and heaped praise on those in attendance for making it an occasion to remember.
“Baltimore was a great experience and the boys enjoyed it,” he added. “We were treated really well and had a good competitive match against Everton.
“Thank you to all the fans, it was spectacular. I heard that it was almost sold out which tells you how big of a club Arsenal is, as well as the level of engagement the fans have with the team.”