Mikel Arteta’s press conference ahead of Tomorrow’s game against Norwich.
When quizzed on the mood and confidence in the players
“After winning it’s always much more positive and happier, obviously. We had a really difficult start in terms of the fixtures – playing four games away from home – so it was always going to be a challenge. We’re happy to win the last ones and the mood around the camp is much better.”
On how the players are dealing with the physical challenges posed by the regularity of games, the boss continued
“The calendar that we have been given from the Premier League is pretty hectic. We’re playing every three days, we’re having less recovery than other teams but the players are trying their best and we’re trying to give them everything we can – in terms of recovery – to have them in the best possible conditions for every game. They are trying their best, so hopefully they will be fine tomorrow again.”
On being at the Emirates for our first home game since March
“Well, we really want to play at home. That’s where we enjoy more, but obviously not having the fans within is a tremendous disadvantage. We want to give them happy moments and enjoyment and at the moment we cannot do that just by seeing them as they have been watching on TV. But it’s what we have at the moment.”
On if this game is a must-win game to catch up to the top five teams
“I think every game is going to be a must-win game from now because we have a few teams ahead of us. So the margin for error is minimal and as well, at home, we have to be very strong if we want any chance of finishing in the European places.”
And on David Luiz’s injury and how serious it is, he said
“We don’t know. He was in pain the other day when he had to leave the pitch. He’s not a player that normally does that, so he was uncomfortable. We assessed him yesterday and he was a bit better, but we don’t know. He had a scan this morning as well to see how bad it is and he’s very willing. He wants to play but he’s always like that. We will have to see how he is.”
On Kieran Tierney’s performances and his supermarket carrier bag
“He’s been one of the positive things since I joined. Just to get to know him a little bit and his character and the way he trains and the way he pushes himself, it’s exactly what we need. He’s the kind of player that I love and I am really, really happy with him. He’s had some really tough moments since he joined the club but now he’s much happier and he’s settled. But about the Tesco bag… that’s Kieran! He’s a very humble and normal guy. He does what he feels is right.”
On whether Guendouzi and Ozil still have a part to play in the remaining games
“I said that everybody that I have in the squad, my job is to get the maximum out of them and to try to help them and support them. And if they are willing, everybody is welcome.”
On if they are both willing
“I always hope that the players want to give their best.”
On whether Saliba will begin training here or if he will stay for the cup final with Saint-Etienne.
“I think he needs to stay there. We’ve got an agreement with Saint-Etienne and he’s been over there all year. He has earned his right to play that final if their manager wants to do that. So I think we have to give him the opportunity to do that, to enjoy that and we can have him after that.”
On what he expects from Norwich City
“A team that is fighting for relegation always has an extra edge. They know the difference between playing in the Championship and the Premier League, and they fought really hard to be where they are. I’m expecting a fully committed team and they are really brave with the way they play. They cause you problems and I’m expecting again a very honest team that is going to fight for their lives to try to give them a better chance to stay in the league.”
On what he thinks of Norwich’s positive performance against United
“I will show them[the players] what they are able to do when you give them time to play and it’s a very tricky team with the way they play. I will make sure that we recover first and we’re ready tomorrow to go again.”
On whether he’s done anything to prepare his players for being back at the Emirates
“Well, we had two friendlies before we started the Premier League at home and it was a really strange feeling, but hopefully they’re used to it now and we know what we expect with all the protocols that we could to make sure that the players know exactly what they have to do, and hopefully they can enjoy tomorrow again playing in our stadium.”
On whether we need some luck with our injuries
“We just try to make the most out of it. It’s been a great learning process for myself and the staff about the situation and the context that we are in. A lot of unexpected things have happened since I joined. We tried to resolve the situations in the best possible way to help the players and the club to keep going in the right direction, and that’s it. Some things we can’t control and the ones we can control, we just try to make as many good decisions as possible.” He continued
On Guardiola’s praise of his time at Arsenal so far
“We have spoken a few times in recent weeks and about facing them again in the semi-final, it’s a tricky one, but look at the level of the teams who are involved in the competition. If you want to win a title then you have to face the best teams, and if we want to do that then we’re going to have to beat City.”
On whether he’s sought advice from Guardiola, the boss continued
“He’s a person that I have huge respect and admiration for and we talk about a lot of things. When I want advice, to listen to him or support, he’s always there and he’s always willing to help me. It’s great to have someone like him around.”
On Aubameyang’s contract situation, the boss did not give anything away.
“I don’t have any updates, sorry.
on his ambitions for the season…
Honestly, just win tomorrow and prepare the team as well as I can. Go again, play better, keep improving our performances, and win football matches. From there I want to convince them, get some momentum and see what happens in the next three or four games with where we are and what we can achieve, but this is my mindset at the moment.”
And on whether Guendouzi has made the most of opportunities at Arsenal
“I don’t know. When Arsenal picked him to come here it’s because they could obviously see the potential and the qualities that Matteo has. He’s a really young player and he’s still in development. When you are developing, the curve is not normally so much straightforward, you have to have some bumps and you have to adapt to it. Then in the process, you have to find the things you’ve done right and the things you’ve done wrong, like any other player.”
When quizzed on whether Ozil could’ve kicked on more
“The players want to play as well as possible, train as well as possible and then it’s a tricky game. You have momentum, you have your team-mates to help you as well and you need confidence. It’s not just one factor but I never doubt that the players want to do their best.
On Lacazette struggling with confidence.
“He’s like any player, the strikers even more regarding the goals that they score, but the other day he contributed, he won the penalty for us, he worked very hard and his link-up play was really good. I was really happy with his performance.”
On how close Lucas Torreira is to being available for selection
“I think he’s close. He needs to get another scan to make sure that the bone is completely healed before we expose him to the next level. But he’s been training really well, he’s been doing some parts with us and Lucas is so willing, has put in all the effort and more in every training session. Hopefully we can use him very soon.”
On what Cedric can add to the team
“He’s a different quality in the full-back area than what we have. He’s a gifted, technical player and is probably the best we have in the final third to make the right decision and attack the box as well. He can play in a four or a five, he’s a really good player with experience in the Premier League that can help us.”
On whether he’s worried that we can’t hold on to young players
“I am not worried because I know that the club is doing their best to try to keep them [Bukayo and Folarin Balogun]. Hopefully we can have some good news about them very soon. They know my opinion on them and how much I like working on them, the intention that I have in the future with them. I see them really committed and hopefully we can find the right agreement for both parties and move on, because I think there’s a great future ahead of us with these kids.”
On whether he’s talking generally or about Saka and Balogun
“I am talking generally.”
When asked if he has spoken to William Saliba, he said;
“Yeah I spoke with him a few times, he’s been around here a few times as well. We’ve been following him this season and as a young player, he had a really difficult season with injuries that he’s had. But again, it’s part of his progress. I know how high the expectations are of him for next year but we have to bear in mind the age that he’s at and what he’s done in the past. I’ll make sure that we create the right environment for him so that he can keep growing as a player.”
On whether his midfielders need to improve their goal/assist output.
“Absolutely. If we talk about playing with two attacking midfielders, even more. They have to be a threat constantly, a threat in the box and the final third, assisting, getting chances to score and provide. It’s one of the big jobs that they have.”
On whether he feels he’s found a balance with three at the back.
“We’ve found a balance in relation to how the opponent plays, how we believe that we can hurt them and make it difficult, how we can find the right balance as well for us to attack better, to control transitions better as well. It depends on the players we have available. At the end of the day we have to put all the players in the right positions, where they feel more confident. Sometimes we’ll be with five, sometimes with four, in a diamond… it all depends.”
When asked whether he’d been keen to keep Dani Ceballos beyond his loan
“I am really happy with the way Dani’s progressing. I know how tough it is to come from Spain and join this league. As well, he had a really tricky injury while I was joining the club but I used him in different positions and his attitude is top. He loves football, he breathes for football and you can see that with every reaction on the pitch. Every time we score a goal, you look at him and it’s like he’s been here for six years, the way he feels about winning a football game and I love that about him.” The boss concluded.