Press conference

Stuivenberg on the result, decisions and Mikel

Albert Stuivenberg was the man on the touchline in the absence of Mikel Arteta on Saturday afternoon, after the boss tested positive for Covid.

And the first-team coach was also on media duties after our 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Here's what he said during the post-match conference…

on the penalty decisions and Gabriel’s red card…

Well, I’m upset that we didn’t end up with three points in this game. That’s the most frustrating part, but at the same time we are very proud about the performance of the players. Of course, there are some moments in the game that I think decided the game. You had the first moment with Odegaard in the first half which I think is a clear penalty, but at least a moment for the referee to check, and then it happened in the second half for their penalty which is not really consistent. Then of course the sending off was an important moment after that, but to be fair, we still had a very good performance against a very strong team in how we defended with 10 players. To end up in the last moment with zero points is very frustrating. 

on how Gabriel is feeling…

Do you know why the first yellow card is given? 

on whether Gabriel was booked for scuffing the penalty spot…

That’s not what the players are telling me. He made a remark to the referee and also other players confirmed that, it was just a normal comment and he gave a yellow card, but it doesn’t matter in the end because if you have a yellow card you must control your emotions a little bit better. He was in a situation which is not the most dangerous situation and you cannot take the risk, so that is a moment where young players still have to learn, and we have a lot of young players. That is part of the process, but instead of talking about that moment, I would say that in the end we are very proud about what we’ve seen from this Arsenal team. If you compare it to the start of the season and where we’ve come from and where we are now, playing against one of the best teams in the world, and competing like this. Also, on the ball today we dared to play and created a lot of chances and also prevented them from creating chances. Yeah, that is something we can build on.

on if Mikel was in contact during the game… 

No, during the game there was no direct line with Mikel, we are always in contact with each other. I do believe I’m famous for the earpods, so normally I’m in that situation that we’re always in contact with somebody from upstairs, or, in this case, from further away. This was the same for the Norwich game, people not involved in the stadium and we have contact there, not a direct line, but an indirect line with Mikel and in between of course, at half time, before the game and after the game Mikel has been in touch because he needs to be involved. In that case and we don’t do anything different, only Mikel physically is not here, that’s the only difference.

on what Gabriel said to the referee…

He mentioned to me that he said something about the first penalty moment with Odegaard, about what happened there, so no dirty language was used, just a comment, that is what Gabriel tells me.

on If Mikel will be back in the dugout on Thursday…

I’ve got no clue. We don’t know how this virus develops, so he first has to test negative of course to be able to come back in.

on if our plan was to counter-attack City…

In the first half especially we had many moments where we pressed them high, sometimes they broke our press, they’re a great team so they have many solutions, but even on the goalkeeper, we tried to press them high many times and ended up winning the ball in their half. So we were ready to go on the high press, but against this Man City, sometimes you are forced back, but when you are in your own half, it's about how you defend compact and break from that and we did that a few times really well.

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