Arteta thanks Pochettino for help before Chelsea clash
Mikel Arteta has described Mauricio Pochettino as a big brother and believes the Chelsea manager is turning things around at Stamford Bridge.
The pair played together for a year at Paris Saint-Germain, both arriving in 2001 and striking up a friendship that lasts until the present day. They have gone on to become top coaches but Arsenal’s game at Chelsea on Saturday will be the first time they have faced off as opposing managers.
Arteta is, at 41, 10 years younger than Pochettino and credits the Argentinian for taking him under his wing. “It was my first professional opportunity in Paris and we arrived at the same time and lived together in a hotel for three months,” Arteta said.
“He was critical, has been one of the most influential people in my career. Firstly as a player, he took me under the arm and looked after me like a little child, a little brother, and he was a big part of the success I had in Paris. It was because of him because he really looked after me, gave me a lot of confidence and a lot of advice.
“He has been a role model for me since that day, not only when I was a player but as a manager as well, when I had to make the decision to leave playing and start my coaching career he had a big say on that and I will always be grateful.”
Pochettino took over at Chelsea in May and has experienced a turbulent start. Arteta, asked whether he felt Pochettino could rise to the challenge, replied: “Yes, you can see already that something has changed very quickly. It’s a big game and there is a big history between the two clubs. We know the types of games we’ve played together with them in the past but this is a different one. I’ve been really impressed by Chelsea. I think they deserve much more than what they’ve got in the table. What Mauricio has done in a short time is phenomenal.”
Arteta also revealed the best advice Pochettino had offered after he hung up his boots: “‘Don’t go into coaching – it’s too hard!’ That is the first thing. I knew he was going to be a coach and I followed him very closely because as a player he was already a leader.
“The way he understood the game was phenomenal. I used to have him at my back and he was constantly coaching me. Very proud of what he has done and the way he has done it through his coaching career.”