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Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal: What did Mikel Arteta say to his players at half-time?

Arsenal registered an important victory over Nottingham Forest away from home to stay in the Premier League title race. Despite Forest being placed at the bottom end of the table, it is never easy to face them, particularly in their own home. Many teams have struggled to get something out of this fixture in recent past. It was the same case on Tuesday night, as a difficult challenge awaited the Gunners at the City Ground.

The visitors had to patiently wait for their turn to break down the resolute defence of the hosts. Despite being the team on the front foot, Arsenal failed to score in the first half. However, they never stopped believing and finally got their reward in the second period. A quick double from Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka put the Gunners 2-0 up mid-way through the second half. However, a late Taiwo Awoniyi strike gave Nottingham Forest a slim hope of getting something out of the match.

Mikel Arteta on half-time team talk

To Arsenal’s credit, they held their nerve to see out the win. After the game, Mikel Arteta revealed what he said at half-time to help the Gunners break the deadlock. “To continue to do [what we did], to have a lot of discipline in what we want to do, to be more perseverant and more consistent and to take chances to be positive and go for it. The spaces are minimal when you have that many players around the box – and the intensity that they are able to generate on both sides is very difficult to break down. At the end, we found a way,” Arteta, quoted on Arsenal.com, said in his post-match press conference.

The manager then shifted the attention to the game, explaining how happy he was with the result. “I’m really happy with the performance and with the result. It was still in our tummy, what happened here last year, and we wanted to put it right. We want to generate some momentum now in the league. I think we’ve got that and the performance was very good,” he elaborated.

Arteta also praised the patience shown by his players during the difficult assignment, as he was happy with various aspects of the game. “I thought we completely dominated the game. We had to be patient… we didn’t allow them to run. And we were able to generate chances in various ways, which is really pleasing to see for the team. I think we showed a lot of maturity to deal with the game in the way that we had to, but in the last three, four minutes, we conceded a goal – and then you have to suffer in this league,” he further said.

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