Pablo Mari has hailed Mikel Arteta as ‘one of the best coaches in the world’ despite having left the club in search of first-team football in January.
The Spanish defender joined from Flamengo on an initial loan deal shortly after Arteta joined the club as coach, and quickly earned himself a regular role in the side.
Injury during his first full season after the club made his loan permanent hampered his chances of a regular first-team role, before Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White formed a near-instant collusion in defence this term, quickly demoting Rob Holding and Mari to settle as back-ups.
Despite having to push to leave in search of regular playing time in January, Mari is full of praise for what he has learned playing under Arteta, whilst hailing him as ‘one of the best’ at his job.
“I have to say he is one of the best coaches in the world because when he does the game plan…I never see it like this,” he told ESPN.
“How he finds solutions for us and makes it easy to play the game: I’ve never seen something like this. That means he is an amazing coach. To give you the tools to play a game more easily, that’s amazing because when you go to the pitch, you already have in your head the type of thing you have to do to play easy.
He added: “He gave me the tool that if I can take three or four seconds before the ball arrives to me, I am going to have this three or four seconds to think for the next action. \
“For me, this was the key because I have time [now]. He was the only coach to give me that tool and make football more easy.
“I play more easy and I can see another type of option that before I never saw because before, I never had time with the ball. So now at the moment, I put in my head another level because of [Arteta].”
What Arteta lacks in experience he appears to make up for in footballing knowledge and attention to detail, and I don’t doubt that he is getting more from our current crop of players than many others would be.
I get that some are still refusing to class us as favourites for a finish in the top four, and that is likely because our squad lacks a lot of experience, but this manager is surprising time and time again, and he will deserve immense credit if he does manage to push this side to secure a place in the Champions League.