Press conference

Arteta on the win, Saka and the fans

Mikel Arteta had plenty of reasons to smile after watching his side respond in perfect fashion at Villa Park on Saturday.

After losing our winning run at home to Liverpool on Wednesday night, we bounced back with a thoroughly controlled and professional performance to earn all three points away to Villa.

The boss discussed the win, Bukayo Saka, the connection with the fans and more.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the win…

It was a big win. After the defeat against Liverpool, but the performance that we had, we wanted to come here and play well first, which we did and get the three points because we want to keep the momentum going and I think the team showed today a lot of personality to come and play the way we played, the way we dominated the game and to come away with a win in the end.

on how fit our players looked…

I told you that we would be ready. I can complain or I can say what I think, it’s fair or not, but I will tell you that we will be ready

on how it feels to win in front of our away fans…

That’s what it gives, probably sense to everything that we do. You realise it in those moments that those people have big emotions towards the club and if we can make them happy then everything just makes sense and the connection that they show with the players and with me as well, we have to be very grateful because they have come on this journey and I think they believe in what we do.

on how it feels for him personally…

Personally, great, because we’ve been through a lot and, as you said, we played almost two years without crowds. To build something that, in my opinion, was the most important thing, was unity around the club and a sense of direction and belonging, they were going to be really important and they give us belief and energy.

on other managers discussing our fixture schedule…

I give my opinion, I never comment on other managers’ comments. I give my opinion.

on the mentality of the team has to be now…

That we have 10 games to go and what we did yesterday or today now it’s irrelevant, it’s what we’re going to do tomorrow, prepare, how we are going to improve the team and play better to win more games and especially more comfortably, because when you are so dominant like we were today, we have to score the second and third one and we’re not there yet.

on if Bukayo Saka picked up a knock…

He was really fatigued as well, against Liverpool he had an issue with his hip, he’s played a lot of minutes and you could tell and we don’t want to risk it. He needs to go away with England now and we decided that the best thing to do was take him off.

on if Saka will be fit for England…

He should be fine, yes.

on Saka and Thomas Partey’s performances…

I think in general the team was really, really good, we had Thomas, when we talk about consistency and the level, I think in three games in six days that he hasn’t had for a while since he’s been here, I think he played at his level, at his best level for three consecutive games and that’s for the team a big, big boost.

on Nicolas Jover’s instructions at the end…

I think if anybody can help with anything on my staff, just do it! If it’s throwing a bottle of water, or cleaning someone’s shoes, or giving instructions, they’re free to do it if they can help the team.

on set-pieces in big games...

Well, they are a big part of the game, obviously, especially in the Premier League and you can see that the top teams score a lot of goals from set-pieces but then they score another one or two and nobody talks about it, but they've made a difference there. You see in the Champions League and you see a lot of times what is happening, you have to dominate every part of the game, the football, the scoring. It's quicker, it's more complicated, everybody is really good and they have good knowledge and you have to find advantages where you can.

on not conceding from a corner this season...

Every game plan is different depending on what we think the opponent will do and what we expect and then what fits what we want to do in terms of the quality of the personnel that we have on the day and we'll keep doing it.

on Bukayo Saka needing more protection...

He probably has said what he felt on the pitch and I think the referees are there and they try to do their best and we have to listen to the players. They are the reason why we are all here.

on Aaron Ramsdale...

He wasn't comfortable in the last minutes against Liverpool and we scanned him and he had a proper injury in his muscle. He wanted to be here. Straight away, the moment he realised that he could not play and Bernd was going to play, he wanted to be here to support Bernd which tells you about a lot of the things that are happening behind the scenes.

on if he will come out of the England squad...

He won't be able to play for England, yes.

on Mikel winning over his detractors...

They can join. The more people we have onboard, the better. It's normal at this club and its history and tradition is to win all the time. That is the only thing that is acceptable and when you are sitting here or playing you have to accept that.

on the improved fortunes of the club...

When I am there I just look how can we get better because very quickly things can change in football because the margins are so remote so just look and be humble and look how we can improve because we have a lot of things to do much better.

on the possible Mings red card...

I haven't seen it on video. My impression in the game with the reaction that the players had that they had to review on VAR. They said that they had reviewed it so.

on Saka coming off as an eventual result of that tackle...

Yes, but they said it was not a red card and we cannot change it.

on Martinelli still joining up with the Brazil squad....

Hopefully, yes. He was gutted not to be able to play today because he travelled to try and be with the team. He really deserves [the call up] so hopefully he can travel tomorrow.

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