Press conference

Arteta on recent form, the top four and Ramsdale

Mikel Arteta faced the media on Tuesday to look ahead to our Premier League match against Liverpool.

The boss discussed the recent form, the challenge of facing Liverpool, Aaron Ramsdale the race for the top four and more.

Read on for the full transcript: 

on the reason behind the recent run of form…

We are playing better, we have an understanding of what we want. We have the right level of confidence, belief and understanding with each other and everything clicks better and quicker.

on having games in hand…

You don’t know how you’re going to take them because you want to play the games and you want to get up to speed with other teams because it’s a bit awkward sometimes when your performances can’t reflect your position in the table at times. It’s what it is, we knew that as soon we had to replay those games and we’re going to play them soon.

on the biggest difference between our last meeting with Liverpool…

It’s five months later! We’re still going to play against arguably the best team or the second best team in the league, a team that is in great form and we’re certainly going to have to play at our best to beat them.

on whether this is the best we’ve played since he arrived…

I think with the level of consistency throughout the game and throughout a run of games, I would say yes.

on whether being in fourth changes our mentality…

Well, it certainly puts you in a position where you’re really looking forward to look up and it gives you the belief that you can be there with the top teams in the country, but the reality is that there’s still a long way to go.

on whether this game will be our toughest yet in this current run…

I think we played against some top teams and we played against City not long ago and you know the problems that they put in. Every week is a test in the Premier League and a very different one, and the challenges that you face in those games are completely different, but tomorrow certainly is a team that dominates every aspect of the game, so when that happens you have to be at your best.

on Jurgen Klopp's job…

Credit to Jurgen, the coaching staff and to the club as well for what they have created. They haven't just created a team that can compete and be successful, They have created a huge cultural understanding of who Liverpool is today. The stadium and the atmosphere they can create, the support, the level, how they communicate. It's a long of things, not just individuals, or the players that they have recruited and the plan that they had to reach that level. It's a whole plan that I really value I think.

on whether Liverpool is a blueprint for Arsenal to follow…

It's very different because our histories are different, the timings of success are different. But we all want to achieve the same thing: to be the best team in this league and that's our focus.

on the players' confidence and whether they need a similar performance to the Man City game…

You need that type of performance and then you need a result. The reason why we didn't get that result against City was because we didn't dominate every single aspect of the game. The moment that you open the door, you know you will be punished. Tomorrow we are going to have to play at least at that level, or better and control every single scenario.

on being back on the touchline in person after missing the City game…

Hopefully very soon they won't need anybody there! They can do it for themselves, and understand and interpret everything that the game requires at that moment, but certainly I will be there with the whole coaching staff and the rest of the backroom staff supporting the players as much as possible.

on whether Arsenal are one of the best teams in the country at the moment…

No, there are better teams in the country because that's what the league table shows. We haven't done anything. What we are doing is try to improve, understand better what we want, being much more consistent in performance and results, but nothing else as yet.

on whether he’s planning any surprises tactically tomorrow night…

We will see tomorrow.

on whether he thinks it would be a failure to not finish fourth give our position now…

I cannot think like that, I think about today and tomorrow. Being in this position, what encourages me is to look up in the table, and look forward. Not to start (looking) in your mirror. I do not think that’s a good sign.

on whether Chelsea are catchable now, and if he feels sorry for them (on the football side) for their current issues….

For a lot of people that are part of that club that can suffer any consequences, obviously yes. But I cannot judge the process or what is happening.

on Ben White, and if he’s thinks he’s become England’s best centre-half…

I don’t know, we are really happy with his performances, how he has adapted, what he brings to the team certainly. Hopefully he can get rewarded, because the way that he trains, he looks at himself and the performances that he’s having. He is certainly creating that attention, from a lot of people.

on Alex Lacazette, and whether he thinks he’ll stay beyond the end of the season…

I think with Alex it’s very clear what he brings to the team. He’s shown it consistently since I’ve been here, and what we have to resolve is the contractual timing, in the best possible way, and when we all align on the same page.

on if being favourites for the top four brings pressure…

Well, that’s the pressure of playing for this club, to be the best and we’re not there yet. If the objective is that, it’s not pressure, it has to be a motivation, a challenge and a clear understanding that the purpose to play for this club is only to be the best and what we’ve done so far means absolutely nothing and I think everybody has to be encouraged and empowered by the possibility to find ways to improve and get better.

on what a win could do for our season…

Winning another game in this league always gives you momentum. Being able to beat the most in-form team in the country would be really, really big so that’s the aim tomorrow.

on if he’s the happiest he’s ever been at Arsenal…

Especially because you guys are here! That’s when it changes my life.

on if Pep Guardiola has spoken to him ahead of the game…

Not yet, I haven’t heard from him.

on Brendan Rodgers calling Aaron Ramsdale the best English goalkeeper…

Well, first thanks to Brendan for thinking that way and I think Aaron has to take those words to give him confidence and support in what he’s doing. I always said he’s been exceptional since the day we signed him, not only on the pitch, but what he transmitted, what he brought to the building, to the club, outside with his character and personality and that’s the kind of people that we want to bring to the club.

on if our English core made it easier for Aaron to adapt…

Certainly, and you can see the understanding and the chemistry that he has with some of those. The fact that they knew each other for many years, that is always helpful and that speeds up the process of any adaptation when it’s always difficult at a new club.

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