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Steve McClaren believes Mikel Arteta must improve the attitudes of Arsenal’s players when they are defending and has urged the Spaniard to adopt the same philosophy which has been successful at Manchester City.
Metro.co.uk understands that Arsenal are confident of reaching an agreement with Arteta this week after holding talks with the 37-year-old following Manchester City’s 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Arteta faces an uphill task as Arsenal have registered just one win in their last 12 matches and McClaren believes Pep Guardiola’s assistant needs to urgently address how the Gunners shape up when they don’t have possession.
‘All he needs to do is address their attitudes in terms of when they haven’t got the ball,’ McClaren told Sky Sports. ‘Because when they haven’t got the ball there’s no speed in recovering into shape, there’s no speed in recovering the ball within five seconds, which is Man City’s philosophy when they lose the ball.
‘There’s no responsibility in terms of going with runners defending. ‘There are no tackles until they get way back on the edge of their own box which is too late then.
‘So I can see Arteta going into Arsenal and going, ‘you know what, in terms of build-up possession, keeping the ball, we’ve got players who can do that.
All I need to teach this team is attitude to defend and win the ball back between five and eight seconds, which is what Man City do’. That’s his philosophy.
‘I think he can can instil that at Arsenal, he can tweak Arsenal in terms of defenders, which I think they definitely need.
‘Defenders are dropping too deep, they are not going and pressing it, they are not mobile and athletic enough to play the way he’ll probably want to play.
‘He could change that a little bit but he can also change that in the transfer market.
‘I just think Arsenal are further ahead than Everton are and Arteta knows Arsenal, he’s got an affinity with Arsenal, it’s a little bit like Frank [Lampard] going to Chelsea, he knows Chelsea, it’s working, he knows the kids there.
‘And with that front line I’d me going, ‘I’d love to work with that front line, just throw them a ball they’ll score goals, now behind that I need to [address it].’
‘You think that would be anti-Manchester City but Manchester City only win the league because of their raised defence, because when they are attacking they defend.
‘And they are not winning games in the present moment because they are not doing that consistently enough and they’re getting caught. ‘Arsenal are not doing that at all.
That’s why Man City scored three easy goals on transition counter-attacks, their team is like that [open] instead of being compact.
‘So he [Arteta] just needs to tweak a few things, work on the training ground, get the players around him, change the attitude, get them working harder off the ball and recovering the ball quicker and Arsenal can be better than what they are.’