WWE Friday Night SmackDown - 09/06/23Jun 10 LIVE
Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal have “grown up” and “matured” after Gabriel Magalhaes gave his side a comeback victory over Fulham by scoring the winning goal and extending their perfect start to the season.
Aleksandar Mitrovic won the ball off the Brazilian defender before firing the visitors into the lead, but Arsenal came from behind to win 2-1.
Martin Odegaard equalised with a deflected strike before Gabriel made up for his earlier error by bundling the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble just five minutes from time.
In the last Premier League campaign, Arsenal only came from behind once to win, but showed composure against Fulham, earning the praise of Arteta.
“We’ve grown up, we have more alternatives, I think we have matured as well,” the Arsenal boss said.
“Playing in front of these supporters helps because they are driving you as well and then it’s about belief.
“A lot of that is about belief and confidence that you can do it and now we have that.”
Arteta insisted Gabriel wants to reach his full potential after he made amends for his costly mistake for Fulham’s opener.
When asked what has changed in terms of the defender’s mentality, Arteta said: “How he looks after himself every day, what is most important in his life apart from his little daughter and his family and how consistent he is every day in his habits and how much he really wants to become one of the best.”
Mitrovic’s goal for Fulham was his 100th for the club and his fourth of the season, already exceeding his total during the Cottagers’ ill-fated campaign two years ago.
Fulham manager Marco Silva believes there is more to come from the Serbian striker.
“Mitro is playing with full ambition, full desire to show his quality for me, for the staff, for his team-mates, for the people that love him, for his family,” Silva said.
“Mitro has to prove for himself and for me that he is in a good place and scoring goals; not just scoring goals but the way he pressed and the way he is working.
“He scored a good goal, almost a second goal; if the ball goes inside, it would have been a great header from him again.
“And he has to keep working hard, he will score more goals for sure. He has to keep working for himself and for me that he is in the right place.”
Join the home of live sport for just £29.99 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.