Press conference

Arteta on the win, Martinelli, top four and more

Mikel Arteta was a happy man after we beat West Ham United to move into the top four.

Afterwards he faced the media and discussed the win, Gabriel Martinelli, Alex Lacazette and more.

Read on for the full transcript:

on his feelings after that win…

I’m really pleased with the performance, the attitude, the commitment and the quality that we showed in the game, and the chemistry that we generated again with our supporters. To win a game at home is really important, because it sets the tone of the team against a really good side that is very difficult to dominate the way we did today.

on if he needed to speak to the team before the game about why Aubameyang missed out…

The players play for the club and they played with the pride and the energy we all expect from them. I was really happy from the beginning - how focused they were to play the game, to put a good performance in.. We knew we had to play really well today to beat West Ham, and I think we’ve done it.

on how good our young players can become - and if they are the future…

I think they were all really good - and the senior players led by example. We had some really strong performances, which was needed to beat this team. I’m really pleased. We shared the goals. It was important for Gabi to score a goal like he did today. In general, I’m really pleased.

on if it helps that all Arsenal’s youngsters are growing up and coming through together…

I think it helps because some of them know each other from the academy. The chemistry is there. I really like the link and the way the senior players are contributing as well. They really enjoy helping those boys in a context that at times has been difficult. They’ve been really consistent.

on if there’s any news on when Aubameyang will return to the team…

No news.

on if today was Martinelli’s best performance under Arteta…

Well certainly it was one of the best in every aspect of the game. He was cramping again and he needs to mature in that sense but his overall understanding of the game is getting much better. He’s able to put some gears into his play. Sometimes he’s still doing everything at 100 miles per hour but the energy and quality he shows at times is top.

on two good performances with Lacazette as captain - and if it’s his armband now…

Well he’s the next in line and he’s taken it the way everybody saw today - with such a pride and commitment, and I’m really happy with the way he played.

on if Lacazette is relishing the captaincy role…

Absolutely - but Laca has always been like that in the dressing room. You see the way he acts with the young players, how willing he is to help. It’s in his nature. He’s not a selfish player. He’s happy when he makes the rest better, and he’s like that in the dressing room as well.

on the penalty…

I haven’t seen it, so I cannot judge it.

on going into the top four - and if that shows how far the rebuild has come in the last 12 months…

Obviously they are really positive signs - not only that but also how the team is playing. We’ve made some progress but there’s still a lot to do and we have to be aware of that. We’ve had some bumps in the road but I think we have learnt a lot from them, first of all because we have stuck together, from the top of the club to every member of the team and the staff. The biggest compliment I can give, and the players are feeling exactly the same way, is the way that we have our crowd behind us. To see that chemistry between team and crowd is unique - and I’m so proud of that.

on if being in the top four at this stage of the season means anything…

No, because the league finishes in May. But it’s much better than where we were, and we want to be higher. We need to find that consistency - we know the level of this league. This league is absolutely ruthless and tomorrow is always different to today, so let’s prepare for the next game.

on if Arsenal now need to produce these kind of performances away from home…

When we went to Old Trafford, I think we played much better than last year but we lost the game - and that’s where we have to come away from those grounds when we get the performance with the points. That’s the next challenge.

on the forwards setting the team with their defensive work…

That’s what I demand them to do. If we are to play the way that we want and I want, those players have to be able to do that consistently in every single action. That’s why it facilitates everything that happens in behind, because that process is done at the right moment, with the right rhythm and intensity. I’m really pleased with that.

on if this is the most synergy he has felt between players and fans…

Probably yes, because they show exactly what I expect from them, which is total unity with the team. We are building a project and I always said to build a project without the people we play for is going to be impossible, because they are the biggest pillar of the project that we have. When they are with us, the team grabs that pillar and we can become really strong. I’m really pleased with that.

on if he’s happy with the progress his defence is making…

As I said before, I think it’s a collective matter. When you have your front players doing the work that they are doing right now, it facilitates everything. It’s true that we have made a lot of progress in understanding and preventing situations, and we have cut down on a lot of individual errors, which has cost us a lot of points in the past. I think we’re [going] in the right direction, yeah.

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