Pep Guardiola says Mikel Arteta wouldn’t celebrate Man City goals against Arsenal when he was his assistant manager, as he insists he always knew how much the Gunners boss loves ‘his club’
- Mikel Arteta spent more than three years as Man City assistant from 2016-2019
- Arteta won two league titles with Guardiola before he become Arsenal boss
- The City boss said Arteta ‘loves Arsenal’ and wouldn’t celebrate against them
Pep Guardiola has said he always knew about Mikel Arteta’s love for Arsenal when the pair worked together at Manchester City.
Arteta spent more than three years as Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad between 2016-2019, with the club winning two Premier League titles during their time together.
The Spaniard also made 150 appearances for Arsenal between 2011-2016 and captained the Gunners in his time at the Emirates – where he is hugely popular.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola has said he always knew about Mikel Arteta’s love for Arsenal
The pair worked together at the Etihad and they won two Premier League titles in three years
There is a great mutual respect between Arteta and Guardiola – with the Gunners boss calling his counterpart his ‘idol’ in the past – and they face off in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday.
And speaking ahead of the clash, Guardiola revealed he always knew Arteta was passionate about his former club and explained how he wouldn’t celebrate when City scored against the Gunners.
‘I know he went to his club,’ he told his pre-match press conference. ‘The team he dreams of.
Guardiola said Arteta didn’t use to celebrate City’s goals against Arsenal in their time together
‘He’s a supporter, he was a captain there. He loves the club. I remember here when we scored goals he jumped a lot except against one team.
‘He was sitting there – it was Arsenal. I said “that guy likes Arsenal”. Like here, if I’m training as assistant and Barcelona call me, I go.’
Guardiola also insisted he fully-expected Arteta to go on and manage a club and believed it is always the right decision to let players and coaches move on if they want to.
He added: ‘I said many times to my players and staff. We felt if one team could offer him a role as manager he’d leave.
Arteta continues to impress in the Gunners hot seat after learning plenty from Guardiola
‘I’m not a guy to say “stay with me”. Everyone has dreams. People have to fly when they believe it is the best.
‘To players, if they are not happy, they have to leave , life is too short.’
Friday’s FA Cup tie is potentially a mouth-watering clash with Arsenal currently leading City by five points in the Premier League title race with a game in hand.
They are yet to play each other in the league and the cup game provides the opportunity to strike a psychological blow on their title rivals.
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