Press conference

Arteta on Auba, Laca, Leicester: transcript


Mikel Arteta was back in the company of the media on Sunday night as he held his pre-Leicester press conference.

Our head coach was quizzed on a range of topics, covering everything from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette's futures to what he's watching on TV in his downtime.

Read on for a full transcript:

on what he hopes these next three games will show about our progress...
Well now we are on a good run, we've got some momentum and we're getting to the crucial point of the season where we're going to face the top teams in the next two weeks and we're just trying to get prepared as well as we can. We know how important these games are going to be for the future of the season, so we are very focused and committed to trying to do as well as we can.

on Jamie Vardy's goals and performances at the age of 33...
When I look at the games of Leicester, there is still the energy that he has in every single game. It's incredible to be consistent in the way that he's done it in the Premier League. Credit to him, he is doing so well.

on whether he thinks we can still make the Champions League if we beat Leicester and Tottenham...
I think we have to win every game and then wait and pray. It's not about winning one game. I think we need to go game-by-game. A few weeks ago, we were really far from even thinking about Europe and now we are a little bit closer at the moment. So let's go game-by-game and see where it takes us.

on why he thinks teenagers are making such an impact in this league season...
Because they've been really well prepared. Credit to all of the academies in the country and the systems that we have in place now in England, that are giving really good formation and education to the players. Because, at that age it's not just about having the qualities or the game knowledge or whatever. You need a structure around the club to support that path for the young players and as well, with how well they are mentally prepared for the pressure that they have to deal with every day.

on whether Ozil and Guendouzi could play this week...
Still, the situation is as it was before.

on what he expects from Leicester under Brendan Rodgers...
Well, I think Brendan and his staff have completely changed the style of play and the way they approach the games. It's very clear what they are trying to do. They are very dominant. They're one of the teams that has better possession in very difficult areas as well. In the Premier League, they've been really consistent - even though they've had some difficulties in the last few weeks - but since they joined, they completely changed the way they are playing and I think they proved against big teams as well that they're going to sustain that influence against the stronger teams as well. Credit to them for what they've done.

on how we ensure we don't lose our momentum now...
Just by pushing the players every day. They are realising that that's the only way to try to compete with the top teams in this country. There are still a lot of things that we have to improve and we have a huge margin, but that has to be something non-negotiable, that has to be a must in every game and every training session. We can build from there.

on Emi Martinez's determination to take his chance...
That's what he's been trying to do for a long period now at the club. As I said before, his preparation and his attitude has always been spot on. He's been very respectful and very patient and now that he has the opportunity, he is grabbing it. But at this level it's not about two, three, eight or 10 games. It's about the consistency over a lot of games and that's what he needs to prove now.

on if he thinks the restart came too soon for us judging by our results...
I don't think so. I think we were well-prepared. I think they were two very different games. The game at City started with two accidents very early in the game that cost us a lot with two big injuries. Then, don't forget that we played 45 minutes with 10 men against one of the top sides in the country. The second game against Brighton, we completely dominated the game for large periods of time and then when we were 1-0 up and we could've scored the second one, we just gave the game to the opponent. So it's not like it was bad performance or attitudes or effort or anything like that. It was different situations that we have to deal with and we didn't do well enough in those two games.

on how pleased he was to see Lacazette score and Martinelli sign a new deal...
Yes, we've had some positive news in the last few weeks about some young players committing their future to the club. Asking about Auba, you see again the way he played and the energy and the effort that he put into the game and how he helped the team in crucial moments, it tells you how involved he is in what we are trying to do and it's the same with Laca. I'm delighted for him because he completely deserved it. It's been a long time since he scored away from home but he scored a crucial goal for us again. Not only that, but his contribution when he stepped onto the pitch was massive.

on whether he thinks we could see Messi move to the Premier League...
I have no clue! It's not a question for us, but obviously, if he could come and join this country, I think it would be a huge plus for the country, for the league and for everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy him.

on Lacazette's contract situation...
We have to have a chat about the next step with him and get his ideas and his feelings. As I said, I am really happy with him. He's a player that I've always liked, even when I wasn't here, because of what he brings to the team: his qualities, his ability, his work rate. So let's see. Now we are in a crucial moment. It's no time to talk about a lot of contract situations. We still have time and we will do it in the right moment.

on relentless games and press conferences and how he stays fresh...
My bed! My bed! I sleep whenever I can and try to rest and put my head a little bit off. But as you said, TV and movies, yes sometimes. I just finished one right now but unfortunately the movies that I am watching now are Leicester, Tottenham and Liverpool and all these other games.

on what he's just finished watching...
How to Get Away with Murder. It's a good one, I recommend it.

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