'Playing against them is like going to the dentist' - Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on 'nightmare' side Leeds United

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta branded Leeds United 'a nightmare' after they gave the Gunners an FA Cup fright, before eventually being ousted from the competition.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 11:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 5:40 pm

Leeds were the better side before the break, creating chances at will and winning the ball from their Premier League hosts with ease.

Arteta was not a happy man at the break.

"Thank god [it was 0-0 at half-time]. I wasn't happy at all. The first 30 to 35 minutes was not good. How we started and approached the game, I tried to convince them before the game what to expect from that team," he said.

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"They had battered every team in the Championship, every three days. The way they play makes it really difficult and uncomfortable in everything. They go man to man around the pitch.

"Every transition and duels are 50-50. If you're not ready for that game you'll get exposed and you'll get done. Obviously the second half was a different story."

Arteta let his side know in no uncertain terms that he expected better in the second half and he got it.

They took the lead through Reiss Nelson and performed more like a side in the top flight, booking a fourth round tie at Bournemouth.

Leeds United are a 'nightmare' to play against said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta (Pic: Bruce Rollinson)

"When I see what I don't want to see, and I'm not talking about technically or tactically. It's about wanting to set standards in certain areas. I cannot be happy and I have to let them know. I am learning every day from them," he said.

"How they react when they lose and what they need when they lose. And when they win too. Before that everybody said it was a physical issue and we could not sustain certain intensity throughout the game but look how they finished tonight.

"We changed somethings but I think the biggest change was how we showed the mentality in the second half. How aggression we are, how intense and we started to win every duel and every 50-50 ball. We played in the opponents half. "

On Leeds, Arteta was as complimentary as any opposition boss has been this season.

He likened a game against Marcelo Bielsa's team to a trip to the dentist.

"It is a nightmare for every team to play them," he said.

"I said before the game that playing against them is like going to the dentist. It's tough. They make it really hard. They're a great team and what they have achieved to do it consistently every three days with those players. What they build there is powerful. Every time you analyse any of the games you can see this. It's top to see that."