Mikel Arteta hails Bukayo Saka’s maturity after ‘really difficult week’ for Arsenal youngster

Teenager received his first England call-up during the week before breaking the deadlock in the 2-1 victory over Sheffield United, resulting in a glowing report from his manager

Mark Mann-Bryans
Sunday 04 October 2020 17:58
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Arteta previews tough Sheffield United clash and how Arsenal can make the Emirates a fortress

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised the maturity of Bukayo Saka after the teenager celebrated his maiden England call-up with the opening goal in Sunday's Premier League win over Sheffield United.

With nothing to separate the sides in the opening hour, Saka nodded home his first goal of the season to break the deadlock.

Substitute Nicolas Pepe doubled the lead shortly afterwards and the Gunners held on for a hard-fought 2-1 win after David McGoldrick curled in a consolation for the visitors.

Asked about Saka now going off to join Gareth Southgate's squad, Areta replied: "I want to see it on my TV, relaxed. Now it is nothing to do with me.

"I am just going to be cheering for the boys, for him and for Ainsley (Maitland-Niles) as well. It has been a really difficult week I believe for Bukayo.

"Playing twice at Anfield, but with all the attention that he got from all the media after he got the call-up as well, you have to show a lot of temperament and you have to manage your emotion. I think he did that really well with a lot of maturity."

Arsenal were victorious on the eve of transfer deadline day, when the club will be pushing to bring in at least one new recruit.

The Press Association understands that a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey could still go through and Arteta was keen to reassure supporters that all is being done by the club to improve the squad.

"What I can guarantee is that we are doing our maximum," he said.

"Whether we are going to achieve it or not I don't know. I cannot discuss the players that we want, but we recognise certain positions that we believe we are sure - first of all numbers and then adding different qualities to compliment each other. This is what we are trying to do.

"I think that I am always, even when I am here (talking to the media), trying to be really honest and clear.

Arteta was impressed with how Saka handled his emotions

"Believe me that the ownership, the board, (technical director) Edu and myself are doing everything we can to maximise the resources we have to improve the team.

"I have 100 per cent backing from them and it is not just words, this is reality. And whoever knows me, if it wasn't like that I would not say that. I say it because I feel it and it is true.

"Whatever we can do, whether it is ourselves or the owners, they are willing to do it to support us, to back us, because I feel they believe in what we are trying to do."

Meanwhile, Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder said referee Lee Mason made a mistake to not send off Arsenal's David Luiz after he pulled back Oliver Burke in the opening stages.

"He has got to show courage, there are five of them (officials) making a decision," Wilder said.

"He has pulled his shirt, I am not making things up or clutching at straws, he has pulled his shirt. Regardless of if he rips it off his back or pulls it, the right decision has to be made.

"I'm going to be annoyed and frustrated about it. Are we looking for small wins that might help us? I'm saying now David Luiz should have been sent off."

Wilder believes Luiz should have been sent off

Despite a fourth straight defeat and no points from their opening four games, Wilder felt his side matched Arsenal for much of the afternoon.

"We came to Arsenal, who are doing really well, have some fabulous players and a great coaching team," he added.

"I was a little bit disappointed from our point of view in possession of the ball, not playing with that flow and confidence that we have in the Premier League."

PA

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