Press conference

Arteta on the FA Cup, transfers and more

Mikel Arteta was back to face the media on Friday to preview our FA Cup third-round match against Nottingham Forest.

The boss was asked about his recovery from Covid, watching the Manchester City game at home, our No More Red Campaign and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the No More Red campaign…

Well obviously, we have been really involved as a club over the years with knife crime and we have the capacity to give exposure to that issue in London and everyone at the club has been extremely supportive, especially with the players and our sponsor adidas who have been exceptionally good to come with some great ideas to support that and I think it's very beneficial.

on the players’ reaction to the campaign…

They have been aware for a while that this campaign has been trying to get done for a long time but because of the Covid issues, we haven't had the chance to do it. We are going to do it now for the game on Sunday and they are extremely supportive of that.

on what support will be given beyond Sunday...

There is a lot of work that is done outside of the lights and a lot of people that have spent a lot of effort to try to design different way and ideas to support that cause. It's not something that is going to be resolved overnight but certainly giving it the exposure and the attention that is needed then hopefully many other people can jump on this initiative and try to resolve it because it's a big issue in London.

on the possible chances for younger players on Sunday...

We have a young squad. A lot of them are already really young but we will assess the squad. We still have some issues around it like is happening in every single match tomorrow and when we have done the last training session and have every test back we will know who is available and we will try to go there to win the match witch is going to be difficult because they've changed their team so I expect it is going to be a tough match.

on recovering from Covid...

I feel good. I had a few rough days but I feel in top form. I am so happy to leave my house after being there for seven or eight days so I'm really good.

on Manchester City scoring the winner...

I was, as you can imagine, extremely upset at how we lost the game at the end but at the same time I was proud of the performance. The way the players played the game, the atmosphere that I managed to feel through the TV, which is nothing like being on the touchline but the support from our fans and the atmosphere that they created was incredible. For that I am extremely grateful, but at the same time, I'm extremely disappointed because we ended up losing the match and we have to improve.

on the officiating decisions against Manchester City…

If I have to rate the decisions that were made in that game, I have to be extremely disappointed. It was completely inconsistent and it affected in a big way the result so I prefer not to talk much about it.

on the Liverpool game being postponed…

We wanted to play the match, but you have to understand that clubs are having a lot of issues. People who are in charge make the final decision whether the game has to be played or not and I believe they should have enough arguments not to play the game, if the authorities manage to postpone the match, but of course, we wanted to play.

on team news and any new Covid cases…

I will have them [the players] all tomorrow, we have some issues, but we will know more tomorrow.

on if the FA Cup feels like our trophy…

Of course, we want it and we have an incredible history related to this competition, but we have to go game-by-game. Every game in this competition is extremely difficult, we’re gonna go to Forest, we know the atmosphere that we’re going to face, the team that we’re going to play and you have to go step-by-step if you want to get any further.

on how it felt watching the Manchester City game at home…

It’s a very strange feeling trying to communicate with players through the computer, it’s something that I’m not used to. It’s the best moment of the week when you are there on the touchline and things start to happen and you are part of that atmosphere, part of that energy and when you’re at home, a lot of that gets lost. But at the same time, I was quite calm, calmer than I expected to be, probably because I knew from there it was pretty difficult to get anything to them!

on our history against Forest in the FA Cup…

To have the history all the time you play an opponent and to make players realise the difficulty of matches is sometimes very useful.

on where the FA Cup sits in our priorities…

For me now, it’s very difficult to plan. It’s no priority, you have to go game-by-game, regardless of the competition. You want to plan what’s going to happen in two or three games and you decide for key players not to play because they’re going to play in other matches, it doesn’t work like that, because maybe the next day they get Covid or something happens and you don’t have them! We go game-by-game, try to win every single game and then the rest will be much better.

on if it’s impossible to plan beyond the next game…

You cannot do it, because you know that you expect to have things that are going to happen. I think it’s better to put in advance the problems you could face and what’re the chances of that happening, and if you do that, the Plan B and C are ready, if not, I think you are just facing things all the time and it’s not the way I like to do things.

on if Eddie Nketiah could leave this month…

I already spoke about Eddie, about how I feel about him, the intentions of the club and where we are. He is with us, every day he shows me and the club that he wants to stay with us and I keep having those discussions with him, but he knows that we want him at the club.

on whether he stands by his decision with Aubameyang…

For me, it’s difficult to judge when the players are away and I don’t know what they were able to do or not. The decisions I have taken are obviously in the best interest of the club and trying to do the right thing.

on the number of potential Covid cases in our squad…

It’s from Covid and injuries as well. I cannot say anything else because obviously I don’t want to give anything away, as you can imagine. Tomorrow we will know more. We are really short in numbers, but we want to play and that’s how we are approaching every game. We will do everything to plan for the game and we’re going to expect them to play on Sunday.

on whether Charlie Patino could start on Sunday...

All of the players involved in the first team have the opportunity to do that and they have to feel that they have the chance to do that. Charlie is not an exception.

on Ainsley Maitland-Niles' proposed loan move to Roma…

Ainsley came to me and explained the reasons why he thought that the best thing for him in his career right now is to move away. He believes that the opportunity to move to Rome and working under Jose is a really good one. We already had this conversation in the summer and we decided to keep him at the club and assess the situation in December, but with the amount of minutes that he has played, he’s entitled to that opportunity and when a player feels that way and has a strong argument like he has, it’s very difficult to turn it away, so we decided to let him go and we wish him all the best.

on whether we could sign a striker this transfer window…

We have a really special situation in that position because obviously you are talking about three players with different issues at the moment, but we have to live with that and so far the players that are here are fully committed. With Flo, we will see in the next week or so what is the final decision on that, but for the rest, there is nothing that is new and we’re going to have to live with that until the end of the season.

on whether he’s interested in Alexander Isak…

You know that I can never speak about players that aren’t ours. There is a lot of speculation with many names and I’m not here to go through that, unfortunately.

on his views on players’ dietary restrictions and nutrition…

There are a lot of things related to that. Obviously, rest and diet are two things that are critical for any sports athlete. Then obviously the culture, and where they are coming from and the habits that they have, is something that can clash very very much depending on how you do it. Of course, we have high demands for our professional players to have the diet, the right timings of when they eat, what they eat - and we are constantly monitoring that as well.

on whether we have enough versatility in the squad after Maitland-Niles’ proposed loan departure…

We are very very short at the moment, but to be fair on a player this cannot be the only argument to try to keep a player, and a player who has been developed and raised through our Academy, and a player that has been patient in many moments to try to fulfil his dream. He was very straight with me, and I understood the situation and (for him) it’s a good option. So obviously we are going to move, and we are going to look for options, because we are very short. 

on Emile Smith Rowe's reaction to being an impact substitute recently…

Well the main reason (behind) that was because he wasn’t completely fit to play. He’s been carrying an issue, and that hasn’t allowed him to train regularly, to play regularly, and that was the main reason. Because in his performances, and what he did before that international break - there is no question that he was one of our more important and consistent players. The only reason that changed the dynamic was that - and obviously now that the team (has been) doing well, there are other players who are doing well, and have been performing well. That changed the situation, but I am very happy with him.

on how Emile might get back into the team with Martinelli and Odegaard playing well…

This is why we need that, we raise the level. Each player raises the level of the player next to him, and this is how you evolve as a team. How you create a culture around the team, that when I get the opportunity I have to grab it. That a statement should be done on the pitch, and not talking or making comments, and when you have the opportunity, grab it. Then show how good you are, and then if you do that you continue playing.

on whether he agrees comments about Bukayo Saka being, or having potential to be a “world class” player…

I don’t like to put these labels. I am really happy with Bukayo, and with what he’s doing, with how he’s development and the importance he has on the team. Most importantly with the impact that he’s able to make in each game. This is something that we want to keep improving in each game, because he has the capacity to do it.

on whether he’s going to start attracting from other clubs who will want to buy him, and if that factors into new contact discussions…

I think that’s great news when you have a lot of talk and people willing for you players, it’s a really good sign. They should be proud because that means they are doing extremely good work. 

on whether a new contract is on the agenda…

There is time to talk about this business. 

Click here for more details on our No More Red campaign.

 

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info

 

 

MEN

WOMEN

ACADEMY

 

Fixtures

Premier League
Ticket Info
Premier League
Ticket Info

Results

Carabao Cup
Carabao Cup