KEY POINTS

  • Roy Keane singled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for being disrespectful towards Mikel Arteta
  • Arteta doesn’t mind if his players call him by his first name
  • Arteta has already formed a rapport with his players as a young coach

Head coach Mikel Arteta clears the brewing tension inside the Arsenal locker room as he addressed retired player Roy Keane’s comments that question the team’s core values.

The former Manchester United star found it absurd how Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang referred to Arteta on a first name basis. The star forward called the manager “Mikel” in an interview that did not sit well with Keane.

“They didn’t show him respect when they called him by his name, Mikel,” Keane said, as quoted by Goal. “He’s the manager, the boss, the gaffer. That’s respect. Not Mikel, he’s not his mate."

Arteta answered back when he heard those remarks from Keane and made it clear that it’s normal from his end to have his wards get comfortable around him.

“I give them the choice to call me whatever they feel comfortable with. With some of them obviously I shared a dressing room. There are people at the training ground who call me boss or coach. The French guys call me coach. It depends. It’s not an issue for me,” Arteta stated in defense.

Although Arteta could understand why Keane felt that way towards Aubameyang, the former Spanish star would rather look at how his squad is playing throughout the season as it clearly proves that his players are responding to his methods and respect his authority.

“I don’t feel disrespected. I understand why he is saying that as a player, but the way I feel with them--and I feel so close with them, with some of them I played with--so for me, it is not an issue and it is not the way I would feel respected or disrespected,” he shared.

Arteta made his coaching debut as an assistant for Manchester City in 2016 and has transitioned smoothly to his current role.

“It has not been something difficult,” he quipped.

It appears that the manner he deals with the members of his roster has made things a bit easier for Arteta.

“It is something that both parties have to understand, respect and go about the relationship in the same way. To be fair, they made it really, really easy for me in that sense," Arteta explained.

"Obviously, the feelings I have for them won’t change whether I am on one side or the other because, in the end, we are part of the same thing."

Arteta and the rest of Arsenal will look to rely on their team chemistry as they are set to face Molde in the Europa League on Thursday.

Training days - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta's players will be allowed back to the club's London Colney training ground
Training days - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta's players will be allowed back to the club's London Colney training ground AFP / Tolga AKMEN
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