Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho might think of himself as ‘The Experienced One’ these days but to Mikel Arteta he’ll always be ‘special’.
Having learned how to be ruthless from his mentor and Mourinho’s great rival, Pep Guardiola, there are also traits of the Portuguese’s that Arteta greatly admires.
And chief among them is the ability he has to get people dancing to his tune wherever his professional life takes him.
Arteta said: “There are two things with Mourinho, first of all what he transmits to the team.
“The head coach, the manager, whoever it is, what he needs to create is a level of engagement with the players and the club and fans, and a level of belief in his ideas — that they buy into him.
“If you don’t get that, you won’t last long.
“Mourinho has something really special: whatever he wants to get into the football club, he manages to do it and he believes in a way and players execute what he wants to do.
“Whoever does not do it is not part of that.
“When I talk about being ruthless, it’s not only on the pitch but as well with some decisions you have to make.
“The second one, I would say, is how you navigate difficult moments.
“The important part is how you react in difficult moments and how the club and the fans react in difficult moments, because I have never seen a rebuild of a team or a squad or a club when everything goes steady.”
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Arteta was among those who tuned in to see how Mourinho and Spurs operate in the recent All Or Nothing documentary.
“Yes, I’ve watched it,” he added. “It was very interesting.
“It’s great to see the inside of other football clubs, other ideas, other coaches, other organisations, I like to see that.
“I do that with other sports as well because there are a lot of things you can take.
“And as well a manager like Mourinho, who has been in many different countries and has been successful in all of them.
“There is a ‘why’ to that.
“There are some important moments in that documentary when you can pick up some relevant things and see why he is getting the success he is getting.”
Arteta is approaching his first anniversary in charge of Arsenal and, despite enjoying FA Cup success, the team is still a long way from being the finished article.
“I don’t like to compare,” he said, when asked if Spurs have more stability.
“I don’t know what they have been doing or what they are trying to do.
“We know we are at the beginning of a long journey
“We know where we want to get and the things we have to go through together.”
Nor does he know whether Spurs star Harry Kane will be fit for the north London derby given what Mourinho has been saying.
Arteta added: “I like to have information on what they said.
“It’s important to get the news on the players and how they are feeling about the game that we are going to play against them.
“How much you take from that is up to you.
“You need to know a little bit the history, and then you can take more on board or less.”