Mikel Arteta gave his Arsenal players a stern talking to at half-time, as the Gunners battled back from a dreadful first-half display to beat Leeds United 1-0 in the FA Cup third round.
Keen to build on last week’s win over Manchester United, the manager named a strong side with just four changes as they hosted the Championship leaders on Monday night.
But while they sealed a narrow victory, the Gunners were outplayed for much of the opening 45 minutes, as Marcelo Bielsa’s men dominated the ball and really should have scored from a number of chances they created.
It was clear the game was not going to plan for Arteta, and striker Alexandre Lacazette – who was named Man of the Match – revealed the manager went mad at his players when he got them back in the dressing room at half-time.
The Frenchman said: “He shouted a lot!
“He was not happy because we knew they were going to play like this and we didn’t respect what he said.
“The second-half was better and thank you Reiss [Nelson] for the goal!”
The manager’s hairdryer treatment appeared to have the desired effect.
Having survived a number of scything Leeds attacks, Arsenal turned it around after the break and booked their place in the fourth round, where they will play Bournemouth, thanks to Reiss Nelson’s 55th minute goal.
And Arteta admitted he was angry with his team at the interval for not following his orders, but was left praising Leeds for their battling display.
“I wasn’t happy at all,” said the Spaniard, after only his fourth game as a manager.
“When I see what I don’t want to see – and I’m not talking about technically and tactically – what I expect from them and the standards that we wanted to set in certain areas, I cannot be happy and I have to let them know.
“We changed some things. The biggest change was how we approached the second-half, the mentality, how aggressive we are, how intense we are.”
Asked about Leeds, who are aiming to end their long wait for Premier League football again this season, he added: “They battered every team in the Championship, every three days.
“They’re a nightmare of a team to play against. The way they play makes it really difficult and uncomfortable.
“I said before the game, to play against them is like going to the dentist, it’s tough they make it really hard and they are a great team.”