Press conference

Arteta on Covid protocols, Auba, Smith Rowe

Face to face press conferences were back off the agenda due to the latest Covid-19 regulations, so Mikel Arteta faced the media over Zoom on Friday.

Our manager discussed the game against Southampton, the latest regulations, team news, our attacking play and more. 

Read on for a full transcript:

on whether the Covid situation now reminds him of March 2020…

Well, we are all trying to refuse those thoughts because we know what that means. The reality is that very quickly in the last week or so, things are happening and we need to be alert to that and we need to start to put some protocols in place because we don’t want to go back to where we were.

on the latest team news and Emile's fitness...

Emile has trained today and he was feeling much better after losing him for the last game and hopefully he will be available to play. The rest [of the squad] is okay.

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on Southampton's form...

I know Ralph and the team and they are a really dynamic, aggressive, forward thinking team, really aggressive in the high press and an important team in transition because that is how they score goals and create a lot of chances as well. A very dangerous team.

on when he could see Aaron Ramsdale's character...

The day I spoke with him for the first time on the phone, that is when I realised he had a special personality and was going to fit in really well with what we are trying to do, and the way we want our players to behave.

on wanting some attackers to win Player of the Month...

That would be good, if the attackers are making us win football matches that would be very welcome.

on the comparisons between the Covid outbreaks for Tottenham v Brighton and Brentford v Arsenal...

I think the decision has to be made to protect the players and the environment, for me this is the first thing. Afterwards we need to maintain certain criteria so the clubs that are competing can all compete in the same conditions. But for me the most important thing is health.

on the new Covid measures and how it will affect the squad...

We don't know, we have to put all the protocols in place again but the situation is very tricky because it is impossible to create a bubble around the training ground or the stadium when the whole world is open. It is not about us, it is about the people we have around us, it is our kids, there are a lot of people connected to us and it makes the situation very tricky.

on our attacking stats not looking too good and how we can improve...

Practice it more and encourage the players to take more risks, put the ball more often in the box when we have the opportunity to have more bodies there and start to score the big chances that we have, like the game against Everton.

on whether Aubameyang will start after being benched…

The players and substitutions are always with the intention to improve the team and win the match and that’s all we try to do all the time.

on whether he’s confident that Aubameyang will rediscover his best form…

It’s all about patches, every player has patches and moments, and it’s about trying to make the big moments and the good moments and the form when a player is scoring goals to try and maintain it, and try to reduce to the time when they don’t.

on whether he would be interested in signing Wijnaldum…

We are not going to discuss any players. He isn’t an Arsenal player, sorry.

on the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham’s covid situations…

I think the guidance is clear, it’s about the decision making that goes the same way for everybody and this is what we have to hope for. We know the context where we’re going to be competing and if there are certain things that you don’t meet, then the games if off, and if you do, the game is on. We all know and it’s a fair competition.

on the impact of Covid on our opening game of the season against Brentford…

Well, there was heat in the first three games of the season for different reasons, but that’s in the past and I think now we have more people vaccinated and we know more about the situation and we keep knowing more about the situation. There’s nothing we can do about it unfortunately.

on the current mentality of the team…

After losing against Liverpool we reacted really well and beat Newcastle. I think we deserved much more against Manchester United, if not a win then at least a draw, then against Everton we had periods where we punished ourselves and I don’t think we deserved to lose either. That’s the thing, we need to increase the level of those performances and when we have those performances during matches, we need to win the matches and close the games down.

on whether he’s encouraging his players to get vaccinated…

We are very protected in terms of vaccines and we are trying to protect them in terms of all the protocols that are in place. We are trying not to effect their lives completely, but as well know that it’s going to be crucial to protect the health of the team and the environment here at Colney and around the stadium as well as we can.

on whether we might return to limited crowds…

If we can maintain the health of everybody, hopefully not, and we don’t want to see that happening again. I think we know that we’re going to have to live with this virus and with all the variants probably for a long time and let’s try to do so. All of us involved in football are willing to take that small risk and it will be down to all the regulators and the Government to see at what point it is OK to continue or not.

on if Auba is lacking confidence…

Obviously, when a player is not scoring it’s affecting his confidence, it’s affecting the mood and probably the belief, but you have to rebel against this situation, don’t accept it and feel sorry for yourself.

on Lacazette’s contract negotiations…

It’s the same as every time that you ask me, nothing has changed.

on the fallout to our recent defeats…

Every time you lose a football match in this club it’s what happens and I think it’s what should happen because we are here to win every match and when we lost two in a row, it’s painful and it’s even more painful for me the way we lost those games because of the trajectory that the team had and the results that we were having. Still, in those two matches, I feel that we deserved much more than two defeats, for sure. Against Manchester United and looking back at the game against Everton, even more, but we haven’t and we have to manage and know how to win more matches.

on what’s to blame for the defeats…

It’s the reality of where we are, I don’t know if it’s a reflection, it’s a reality and a reality that we want to change that we were able to change it and now it’s about doing it more and more consistently

on if we need to create more chances in games…

It’s always a combination, who creates the chances for them, it’s themselves, it’s the team, it’s the collective capacity for the team to arrive better in conditions in the final third, it’s the numbers in the box, we can look at everything, but the reality is that we need more goals

on if he tells the players to push for more goals after going ahead…

Absolutely and I don’t think we did that [sat back], sometimes teams can change their way of playing after conceding a goal, we don’t and we go for the second one and the third one and we’re not gonna change that.

on if we need to sign a striker…

What we have to do is better the players that we have, this is what we can control and this is our job.

on the Premier League’s COVID rules…

That would be helpful, yes [for the Premier League to outline the number of positive cases before a game is postponed]

on whether the current rules are too vague…

Well, I think it is because you don’t know when you have to play and when you don’t and we have some examples of that.

on his relationship with Auba at the moment…

I don’t know, I have a very good relationship with my players. Everyone has to understand that I always do the best for this club and for this team. And often if that can benefit any individuals, I will always do it. The decisions are not personal, the decisions are just to get performance, and the best out of the team. That’s it.

on whether he’s considered selling Auba in January…

Really, we have never discussed something like this, and when players are under difficulty - or the team is under difficulty - what we have to be is supportive.

on news that Eddie Nketiah’s has turned down a new contract…

Well, Eddie has six months left in his contract and we are having discussions with him and the agent to try to find the best possible way. Eddie knows how much I rate him, and I like him - and I would like him to stay at the club.

on whether there’s still a chance to keep him…

Well he’s our player, and he’s someone that we raised. He has the Arsenal DNA in is blood, and he loves the club so much. His reason is that he wants to play more football, and that’s a genuine reason, it’s nothing to do with anything else. He wants more minutes, and he feels he is able to contribute much more, and that’s why I like him.

on whether it’s difficult to guarantee minutes to any player…

Very difficult. But I understand that Eddie is at that period in his career when after a long spell (out), after coming coming back, and then being in and out of the team - that he feels that that’s the case. But at the same time I have a strong feeling with him that he can really help the team.

04:20

Intense rondos and Ramsdale's safe hands | Inside Training

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