by Koolkola

Mikel Arteta admits that a rest could probably be helpful to Bukayo Saka, amid fears of burnout and injury.

The young forward has started 18 of our last 20 Premier League games, and has completed 90 minutes on 16 times in those 20 games.

Despite this, he managed to deliver two assists for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to help us to a 3-2 win.

“At some point, ideally, yes,” said Arteta when asked if he might sideline his precocious winger.

 

“On Thursday night at some stages in the game, we were thinking about that, because you can see it.

 

“It is not only him, there are a lot of players who have played so many minutes, you could see the Benfica players and you could sense the fatigue and the changes they had to do straight away.

 

“But obviously when things go well the energy that creates sometimes overcomes fatigue, and I prefer not to talk too much about fatigue.

 

“If we have to rest players, we have to rest them, because we have to keep them fit as much as possible but as well you have to develop that mental toughness that you need when you are in competitions you want to win.”

Mikel Arteta was asked if squad fatigue was a concern due to the amount of football played in the last 12-months. However, the boss quickly noted that tiredness is often mental rather than physical. Therefore, he doesn’t want his players to use this as an excuse not to do the basics.

“If we have to rest players we have to rest them because we have to keep them fit as much as possible,” he added.

“But as well you have to develop that mental toughness that you need when you are in competitions you want to win.

 

“That is why if you say: ‘I’m fatigued, I cannot do it’ – no, of course you can do it,” he added.

 

“There are things and professions that are much harder than ours where people keep on going and going – when someone is running a marathon and chasing somebody.

 

“There are so many good examples we can use so fatigue is a lot of times mental, because if things go well and you score a goal, I’m sure you will still have the energy to sprint and celebrate that goal.

 

“But when you have to track someone back, you say you’re tired? I don’t really agree with that, if you are on that pitch – until you are absolutely done – you have to give your best.”

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