Press conference

Arteta on the defeat, Lacazette and the top four

Mikel Arteta gave an honest assessment of our performance after we slumped to a disappointing defeat against Brighton on Saturday afternoon.

The result condemns us to back-to-back defeats with just eight games remaining in our fight for a top-four spot.

After the match, the boss discussed our performance, Alexandre Lacazette's form, playing Granit Xhaka at left-back and how we bounce back.

Read on for a full transcript:

on the performance…

The first half was really poor again. The reaction that we wanted to show and everything that we talked about, we didn’t make it happen on the pitch. We were sloppy with the ball, we were second best again in a lot of situations, we didn’t show any purpose or build any momentum in the game, play with the right speed and transform the game that Brighton proposed today and with the first chance that they had, the only chance I think they had, they scored a goal and, again, we created a cold atmosphere, an atmosphere we weren’t comfortable with and when we tried to change it, it was too late. It was great not to give up, but it was too late.

on the attitude of the players…

It’s not a problem of attitude, for me it was a problem of the approach and the courage that we showed to play and we didn’t have that purpose. I know we didn’t have that intention to attack and step in and provoke the situation that we want to provoke and we’re looking at each other too many times instead of taking ownership and doing what we have to do and you cannot play like that, you have to make yourself count, step in and today we didn’t do it.

on Alexandre Lacazette’s form…

We need to score more goals, that’s for sure and that’s a collective issue

on if he’s happy with Lacazette’s performances…

I’m never happy when I lose, I’m really upset. I cannot be happy.

on playing Granit Xhaka at left-back…

Well especially the way I thought they [Brighton] were going to play and the spaces that we wanted to attack, it fits really well to play Emile in that position [midfield] and especially because we thought that space was going to be there as well for Granit to be used, which it was, but we didn’t use it. After the game, when you lose, the decision that you made you have to write before the match, after it is too late.

on the decision to rule out Gabriel Martinelli's goal...

It was a feeling that we had that it was taking too long, and if there’s any doubt then it’s going to be a goal. 

It wasn’t the case and it wasn’t  the decision we needed because that was probably the best moment we had in the game to try to change the momentum of the game, but it didn’t go our way. 

on being without key players...

With all of the team available we know we how difficult the challenge is that we have ahead, that’s for sure. 

Those two injuries, big injuries, make the situation more complicated, but we cannot look at that, because we’re going to be looking for excuses and what happened today is down to us and the players that we have and the way we have prepared for the game. 

on what he meant by our players lacking ownership...

No, I think we lacked taking ownership of the game, to start to make decisions by our ourselves that could  effect the game. Instead of allowing of the game to go and go and take a trajectory that we could see clearly was not the one that want, and when that happens you have to move and to take the game into a completely different direction and that has to happen during the match early, and we didn’t do it, and by the time we started to do it, it was too late. But you could see that in end the energy was already very different.

on how we bounce back from defeat...

What happens is, criticise ourselves a lot, get slapped again, because we were really poor in the first half, and lift ourselves up because we know that this route is taking us nowhere, especially where we want to be, we have everything to play for still in the last 8 games that we have to have with that level of energy and visualising the challenge, the beautiful challenge that we have ahead, and don’t sit back and lets see what happens.

on what he meant by a cold atmosphere...

That we can create it, because the fans were here and again were exceptional, and see the moment we gave them something what we tried, and we played a game that you could not see the purpose, the intention of the team, what we were trying to do. We have to give them something, and we didn’t give them anything in the first half and this is down to us.

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