It has been eight long months since fans were in football stadiums in England.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every walk of life, but how has the absence of the supporters impacted on our players?

“It is definitely affecting the players,” Mikel Arteta says. “Now, for example with the lockdown: you win at Old Trafford, you feel excited, your adrenaline is really high, you go home and you want to celebrate, you want to do something, but you just go home, by yourself – some of the players live by themselves – and you go home, sit on the sofa, and that’s it.

“To find that purpose and say, ‘Okay, I work so hard for this moment, I want to enjoy it, I want to have people around me’ but you have nothing, so it is a completely different

In our case, when you try to build a new project you need to engage the fans with the team. They have to see live what the team is transmitting. It is completely different on the TV, you are not able to do that.

“Without creating that chemistry between players and fans, for them to believe, for them to see live what we are trying to do, it is complicated. We need that. The players have to feel, ‘Wow, these guys are really behind us, they are really pushing, they are liking what we are trying to do… I feel more motivated, more engaged, I want to participate’ – and we are lacking that.”