Mikel Arteta has admitted he misses Pep Guardiola – but still speaks to him on a regular basis.
Arteta made the heart rending decision to go his own way and leave Manchester City boss Guardiola to take over at the Emirates in December.
But Arteta, talking while on Arsenal’s winter break in Dubai, says he remains very close to Guardiola and feels “privileged” to have learned from him as a manager.
When asked whether he missed Guardiola, Arteta said: “Absolutely. I am a big friend of his and I admire him. I had a lot of joy working together and success. We spent a lot of time together and he is a friend.
“I always talk with him. He is a really good friend of mine. I respect him so much. We share a lot of things in our life and we discuss everything.
I have to apply my own things. He was part of my development as a person to go through a lot of things I experienced next to him.
“It was a privilege and of course a lot of the things I took on board, that I felt from my time at Barcelona, we shared together and a lot of things I learned from his management.”
Arteta says Dubai has been a “perfect environment” to work in but also claims that it is the first extended period of time to work with the players since he has taken over.
The club is facing the prospect of a fourth year out of the Champions League and Arteta says his aim is to drill the players into his methods so they can start getting a run of wins together.
Arteta said: “I want to go game by game. At the moment we are far from the top four, but there are a lot of games to play. It is very tight. Everybody is giving points away. It will depend on us. If we are able to put three or four wins in a row, we will be much closer.
“It is our principle, our style of play and how we manage the games, how we manage each section of the pitch and clarity.
“That the players have clarity when they jump into the football pitch, that they know and they can recognise the scenarios they are facing and they have the tools for the solutions.”
Arteta was also full of praise for teenage Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli and says the forward has all of the qualities to reach the top.
Arteta added: “For me the biggest thing is his hunger, his attitude and his willingness. After that he is obviously a player that is a threat on goal. He can finish, he can run in behind and he is a fighter.
“But his biggest attribute is his personality. Every time he is on that pitch he doesn’t care about what type of game it is, he just wants to win and do his best every single day in training and in games.
“I was aware of him before, but it is different when you know him in person and you find the right reasons why this player is doing what he is at this age.”