Mikel Arteta said that he felt an entirely different atmosphere at the Emirates Stadium in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Manchester United.
Arteta earned his first win in management thanks to an impressive performance against a faltering United, with Nicolas Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos getting the decisive goals in the first half.
It made a welcome change from what the Arsenal crowd had grown used to seeing earlier in the season, and Arteta was delighted that they were able to begin their revival.
“It feels great, incredible,” he told BT Sport. “I’m so happy and proud of the players and the performance they put in.
“It was much better in the first half than the second. Everything we planned to do worked really well. We had enough chances to put the game to bed much earlier.
“Physically the level dropped in the second half but the commitment and desire was terrific.
“Right from the start I could feel a different atmosphere. Thank you so much to the fans because we really need them. The players play so much better when they are behind us. Hopefully we gave them something to be proud of today.
“I try to help the players as much as possible and give them the right structure to feel comfortable. But they have to deliver and I’m so happy they are doing that at the moment.
“The performances are getting better so I was desperate for the win and we got it.”
Arteta added to Match of the Day: “The performances are getting better and today was perfect. New year, new opportunity against a big club.
“You have to give everything, that is a must. Non-negotiable at a club like this.
“At the moment to maintain that intensity is not what they are used to. We will be able to do that soon for longer periods.”