Press conference

Arteta on the win, Nketiah, the top four and more

Mikel Arteta was a happy man after we got back to winning ways in the Premier League with an impressive 4-2 victory over Chelsea.

Afterwards, the boss faced the media at Stamford Bridge to discuss our performance, what it means in the race for a top-four place, Nketiah's future and more.

Read on for the full transcript:

on bouncing back in style…
I totally agree and that’s the game we had in hand and I said to them ‘if you want to be playing Champions League football, you have to come to the biggest stages and you have to beat those top teams’ and tonight we’ve done it. I’m really proud of them tonight, but I am more proud about how they have reacted after every defeat that we’ve had in the last few weeks and not only the players, but the staff and as a club and that’s when it reinforces me and gives me even more energy to be where I am and feel how lucky I am to be here.

on the tempo of the game...
It was mentally really demanding. Because everything that we have been through in the last few weeks, for most of those players, it was the first time they’ve been through something like that and sometimes we forget about that. For some of them it is the first time they are playing in the Premier League and the demands and the responsibilities we are putting on them is huge. So after that still to go through the moments emotionally that the game had, they showed real maturity and composure and quality to match what they [Chelsea] were doing because they are a top, top side and their manager is very, very good.

on the fans…
For our fans, the only thing I can say is what I have said all season. In good and difficult moments, they have been right behind the team and I know that we have disappointed them in the last few weeks with the results that we’ve had, and look how they were today again. So this victory is for them as well and then tell them that they have to be at Emirates Stadium with us on Saturday, because we don’t have time to recover and they need to be really noisy and loud to help us win the match.

on if Saka was always going to take the penalty...
No, I thought that Gabi was going to take it and when I saw that Bukayo took it, honestly, my first thing that I thought was back in the summer and what happened. But again, I said to you guys, when that happens to Bukayo, that happened for a reason and he learned so much and he matured so much, that’s why he’s having the season that he’s had. For him to have to the courage to say ‘I’m going to take it again’ because I’m sure it was in the back of his mind, for me it’s ‘chapeau’ even if he had missed it.”

on if he enjoyed the game…
Well, with the rollercoaster that we had out there it was difficult to predict what could happen and every time they put the board up for a sub, and you see the player that is coming, you are thinking ‘wow, this one is off and this one is in’ they are a great team.

on how players came in and performed so well without any minutes in recent games…
Very simple. I’ve said to them many times, the way that they train. If you see the training session that we had on Sunday after the defeat, if you see Mo Elneny, Rob Holding, Nicolas Pepe, how they trained - I think it’s the reason why we won. I said to them before the game, to good people good things happen guys, and we have some really really good people in that dressing room. That shows in difficult moments when they are not involved, not in the good moments. They have performed today because of how they look after themselves and how much they care about the team. 

on whether that’s why he wants Eddie Nketiah to stay…
If there is one player that I have been unfair with, I think it is him. He has given me every right to do something different, so if Eddie hasn’t played more, it’s my fault and because as a manager I have missed something or I haven’t had the courage to play him more, and today he showed me again how wrong I was. 

on whether tonight makes him think about whether the gap between us and Chelsea isn’t so big…
Today was something, but the table says different. What they did last year, and the level that they play, and what they won says something different. A game cannot blur the reality, and as a team, as a squad, they are in a completely different moment I think.

on bringing in players with fresh legs, and whether the idea was to match Chelsea physically…
Because I have the intuition because I see them train every day, and I thought this game and this moment needed a different game and a different energy around the team. Then obviously there was a big tactical reason, because I expected them to do certain things, that with certain formations that we could not cope with or we were going to already have difficulties to [deal with]. So we needed to have that flexibility in the team to adapt to what they could do.

on how much he worked on the new formation, and whether it was easy for the players to pick up…
That’s a certain for them. We tried to simplify it as much as possible, but it was still complicated because it was in attack to something, in defending high it was to do something, in deep it was to do something, in deep it was something different if they were doing something different. That’s the game, and that’s the way the game is evolving, and that’s what this type of management demands you to do, and if you are unable to do that, it’s difficult to control the match.

on whether that performance shows how much the club wants Champions League football next year…
Yes, they have been really disappointed because they have the hope. They can see it there, that after a long time for the club they can see that we can achieve it, and it’s there for the taking. You get one disappointment, two, even the third one you say we don’t deserve to lose the matches, why? We had 23 shots, they had two and we are losing matches. For some of them it’s difficult to understand, but the guy who invented this game, he wanted to make us suffer. Because when you expect something, something different happens, and this is the beauty and why we are all here probably. 

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