Mikel Arteta sends pointed message to Jurgen Klopp after touchline bust-up criticism

Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta were furious with each other on the touchline
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However, the Spaniard declared he will always fight to protect his players as he was pressed about the incident on Thursday morning.

"With the situation I had with Jurgen, I think you have to be spontaneous and do what you do," Arteta said. "I will always defend my club, my team and the players on the pitch."

Asked how his players responded to the flashpoint, he responded: "I don’t know, it’s who I am. If I feel like this, I will react and if I feel I have to defend my players then I would do it."

Arteta was also quizzed on why he is much more calm in press conferences than he can appear on the touchline and replied: "Well, I don’t know. Maybe you don’t give me enough motives to go another way! But it’s part of our character."

Arsenal's defeat at Liverpool brought an end to their fine run of eight games without loss in the Premier League – and 10 in all competitions – which thrust them into the conversation for a top-four finish.

Mikel Arteta was booked after the incident but insists he will "always defend" his players
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Next up for the north London club is the visit of Newcastle United in Saturday lunchtime's fixture, with the Magpies under new management following Eddie Howe's appointment.

The Englishman was not on the touchline for the Magpies' entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford last weekend because he had to self-isolate, but Arteta is wary of the growing "momentum" at St James' Park.

He said: "It is a new game, obviously there are so changes happening there, you can see the momentum that is building and it is different.

Eddie Howe will lead Newcastle United against Arsenal on Saturday
(Image: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

"You see the last game they played as well, you saw some different things: new manager, new coaching staff, so let's be prepared.

"I admired Eddie for what he has done in the league, his style of play and the coaching staff as well, so I'm sure they will be fully prepared."

Arteta also sent a message to Joe Willock, who left Arsenal to join Newcastle in a £25million transfer this summer, adding: "It will be really nice, we all love Joe. It was a difficult decision to let him go. He knows the reception he's going to get."