Press conference

Read every word from Arteta's post-Fulham presser

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta had plenty to smile about after watching his side cruise to an emphatic victory away to Fulham on Sunday.

We were three goals to the good inside the opening 45 minutes, and that proved enough to earn another victory on the road, and restore our five-point lead at the top of the table.

After the game the manager faced the media, and here’s a complete transcript from his post-match press conference.  

On our win…

Really happy, it’s a really tough place to come against a well-organised team. I think we dominated the game, we created so many chances, we kept a clean sheet – which was really important. And we won the game in a convincing way so I’m very happy.

On what it means to keep a clean sheet…

A lot, it’s that love for defending. That 11 players need to be committed for the 96 minutes and I saw that again today. It’s going to be crucial to us winning games.

On the importance of winning the way we did…

To me, it does push me to the limit. In the Premier League, 1-0 or 2-0 is not enough, with 3-0 the game changes. There is still a lot to play for in the second half and we dropped the level a little bit in the first few minutes. I think the boys had an outstanding performance against a really tough opponent. Today it’s a day to praise them.

On Leandro Trossard’s performance…

When we talk about composure and finding the right pass, and looking to the right player in the box, it’s very blurry and some other players make rash decisions, and he created three goals. He could have scored two – I think he was really impressive. Not only that, he had an jury only a few days ago and that injury could have taken a week or 10 days. He was really willing to come back early, the physios and doctors did really well to do that. That changes things in the team, and we needed him today, his contribution was superb.

On whether it’s important Leandro has had prior Premier League experience…

It's football intelligence, he’s really clever to understand straightaway what you want, what is required, what is his role and he’s executing it really well.

On whether the boss would have expected 100 wins already…

I don’t know! I’m really happy that we won today, it’s the 100th and hopefully there will be many more. It’s earning those wins and having a team that you feel that follows us in everything that we try to do. You feel that you can identify with it, and for me that’s the most important thing.

On Gabriel Jesus’ return…

[It’s a] big boost! His first steps today and we didn’t know whether it was the right game for him today. A few days ago, he told me he was missing something and then yesterday he looked me in the eyes and told me he was ready. Then today we had the opportunity to throw him in because it’s that first step to give him the boost. He looked free and generated two big chances straightaway, and it’s great to have him back.

On if he would have been chanting with our away supporters…

I would be singing with them to support the team, that’s for sure! They’ve been exceptional, the amount of people that are coming here, their attitude, their passion and the energy that they’re putting in is incredible. We’re going to need that and that’s a game-changer for us, so thank you.

On who Jesus could replace in our starting XI…

Now he needs to earn his place like anyone else in the team. We have alternatives that can play in different positions and we have different roles to fill in relation to the chemistry of the players and what we ask them to do. It’s a great problem to have, believe me.

On if Jesus’ absence showed a different side of our attack…

Yeah, we try to adapt to the qualities that we have to play to their strengths and the positions that we want them in as much as possible. Leo has very different qualities to Gabby, and Martin as well compliments him really well in turns of space and understanding. It’s great to have that versatility in the team.

On if it was our best first half performance of the season…

Good question. I don’t know, because it’s really tough when you play every three days, you travel to Europe, you come back and see the energy, the quality and the understanding, the willingness to go there again and be really dominant. It was really impressive, to be fair.

On Pep Guardiola’s comments that we’re favourites for the title…

I don’t know, we just discuss what we discuss internally to be really humble, to work on the next training session and try to be better every day and that’s our focus. There’s still a huge part of the season to be completed.

On his conversation with Jesus at full-time…

I was so happy, he put a lot in the last few months and all the staff spent so many hours together to try to fulfil all his needs. He wanted more, and more, and more and he was very willing to get back. Just to see him there with a smile on his face was just a joy and I was really happy for him and the team was really happy for him.

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