Mikel Arteta, coach of Premier League leaders, Arsenal, has explained why he doesn’t want a rivalry in the title race with Pep Guardiola, who is the head coach of second-placed Manchester City.
With Arsenal scheduled to face Manchester City in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday, January 27, Arteta expressed hope that the struggle to win a trophy this season won’t ruin his friendship with Guardiola.
Speaking at a press conference today, January 25, he said;
“It’s a strange feeling. I want the best for him, genuinely, and when you are challenging with someone like this, something comes in between that.
“I always hoped [Arsenal challenging City for trophies] was going to be the case one day and it’s happening this season. That’s not going to change any friendship, the moments that we have, how important he is in my life, how important he is in my profession. We’re both willing to win and defend our clubs in any way and that’s always been the case since day one. I would prefer to do it with someone else to be fair.”
Arteta spent three years as Guardiola’s assistant before he left the Premier League champions to take over as Arsenal coach in 2019. His team are now five points clear of City at the top of the table and have lost just once in the competition this term.