Mikel Arteta has said that Antonio Conte’s appointment at Tottenham is ‘incredibly positive’ for the Premier League, while sending a message to his predecessor, Nuno Espirito Santo
Spurs have appointed Conte as their new manager following the dismissal of Nuno earlier this week, the North Londoners making a change following a disappointing start to the Premier League campaign.
Having won their opening three games to sit at the top of the table, Spurs have since lost five of their last seven, with the 3-0 loss to Manchester United the final nail in the coffin – a game that Spurs fans vented their frustrations towards the Portuguese.
Arteta was asked about the events at their London rivals and the Arsenal manager was keen to sympathise with the departed Nuno, admitting it is always ‘tough’ to see a colleague lose their job.
“I would like to send a message to Nuno [Espirito Santo] and the coaching staff,” Arteta told his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Watford.
“It’s always tough to see a colleague leave their job and Nuno has done extremely well in this country and he has proven to be a top, top manager.”
Arteta was asked whether Arsenal should be concerned with Conte’s arrival at Spurs, the Italian having a proven track-record of success after winning league titles with Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan.
The Spaniard admits Conte possesses a ‘successful past’ in management, but says that time will tell whether he can bring long-awaited success to Spurs.
“They have made a decision to bring in somebody else. We know he has a really successful past in the last two places he has been and we will see what he does here,” said Arteta.
Arteta did concede that Conte’s arrival was ‘incredibly positive’ for the Premier League and described the 52-year-old as one of the ‘top, top living managers’ in world football, admitting the appointment of the Italian adds to the competition in the Premier League.
“You can’t think about many, many more that are the top, top living managers.
“It’s incredibly positive for our league. It raises the level because he has new ideas. The competition will be even harder but as well we have to bear in mind we have some really good examples with Neil Warnock and David (Moyes) what they have done in the game, with Neil and the longest serving record of games in history, David’s 1000 games. We cannot lose that as well. They are related to the history of this league and they have done so much in this game for us as well.”
Arteta was also asked whether Conte’s arrival at Spurs makes Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish more difficult, though believes reaching the Champions League remains a difficult proposition for any side this season.
“It will be for any team,” he said. “To be fighting for the top positions. There are so many games to go. You see results and performances and how teams vary from one half to another. A moment in the game. That tells you the quality in terms of players and managers as well.”