Arsenal's Mikel Arteta concerned with motivation due to lack of fans
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted players will have to find motivation without the urgency provided by fans when the English Premier League restarts tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
Arteta's side will face second-placed Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, behind closed doors because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having watched Germany's Bundesliga return without fans on television before experiencing the situation himself last week during friendlies, Arteta is aware of the challenges.
The Spaniard believes it will be hard for some players to display their usual intensity because they will not have the energy of a full stadium to feed off.
"When I was at the Emirates and there was no crowd, you cannot feel that energy, push or drive," Arteta told reporters in a virtual press conference.
"The game is different. The intensity drops a little bit. That urgency from the crowd doesn't exist any more, how passionate the crowds are in England. We have to adapt, find ways to motivate our players."
Arteta also touched on the future of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, saying it is the club's responsibility to convince the striker to continue his career in north London.
The Gabon international, whose deal ends next June, has scored 61 goals in 97 appearances since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
Arteta knows that if Arsenal, who are ninth in the EPL, could scramble into the Champions League places, it would be a huge boost in convincing the striker to commit.
"He needs to feel valued, feel that he belongs to us and we want him," said Arteta.
"Also, he needs to believe we can take this club forward and he's going to be a key player to do that."
Arteta, 38, will be reunited with former mentor Pep Guardiola on the touchline, and the Gunners boss has admitted that his compatriot has had an "enormous influence" on him.
"He was an influence for me since I was 15 when we met at Barcelona as players," he said.
"In my coaching career and my personal life, he has an enormous influence.
"If I have to talk about the person he is, his values, the way he has treated me and how he deals with the players and the staff around him, it's phenomenal... I have learnt so much from him." - REUTERS