Emile Smith Rowe reveals what Mikel Arteta said at half-time to inspire Arsenal win over Brighton

Emile Smith Rowe looks on during Arsenal's win over Brighton in the Premier League
Emile Smith Rowe has played a key role in Arsenal’s wins over Chelsea and Brighton (Picture: Getty)

Emile Smith Rowe has lifted the lid on Mikel Arteta’s half-time team talk at Brighton and claims the Arsenal manager was confident his team would score as the game opened up after the break – which was proven correct.

The Gunners recorded back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since September thanks to a clinical 66th-minute strike from Alexandre Lacazette, who scored with his first chance after replacing Gabriel Martinelli.

Arteta’s men were buoyed by their impressive win over Chelsea on Boxing Day but were made to work for the three points as Brighton kept them at bay in a turgid opening 45 minutes for the visitors.

However, the north London club are now just six points behind London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in 13th place and Smith Rowe – who once again impressed after starring versus Chelsea – said he was delighted with the result.

‘It was a tough game, Brighton showed a lot of confidence tonight and obviously they didn’t play too long ago so it was a really tough game for us,’ the youngster told Arsenal’s official website shortly after the final whistle.

‘But I feel like it really opened up for us in the second half.

‘We’re really happy with the three points and I think we deserved it.’

Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate Arsenal's goal against Brighton
Lacazette scored the winning goal just moments after coming off the bench (Picture: Getty)

Asked what Arteta said to Arsenal’s players at half-time, Smith Rowe replied: ‘Just to keep going really.

‘He told us the game would open up in the second half.

‘So we just tried to keep the belief and keep the confidence and, as you can see in the second half, it started to open up.

‘We created more chances and obviously Laca got the goal that helped us.’

Smith Rowe runs with the ball during Arsenal's win over Brighton
Smith Rowe says he’s going to ‘keep training hard’ to give himself the best chance (Picture: Getty)

The 20-year-old midfielder said he was ‘so happy and grateful’ that Arteta had given him the chance to prove himself against Chelsea and Brighton over the last few days.

‘I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a dream for me to play for this club,’ Smith Rowe added.

‘I’m so happy and grateful that the manager is showing faith in me and giving me the chance.

‘I’ve just got to keep training hard and when I get the opportunity, I’ve got to take it.’

On Lacazette’s winner, Smith Rowe continued: ‘I think that was his first and second touch, as soon as he came on.

‘Bukayo [Saka] did really well down that side to get the ball into him.

‘We all know how good Laca is so it’s no surprise that he scored there.’

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