Arteta on Chambers, Nketiah, White's fitness

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was delighted to see Calum Chambers and Eddie Nketiah settle our tie with Leeds on Tuesday night.

Afterwards our manager faced the media to discuss the match. Read on for a full transcript:

on whether he's ever made a sub with such an instant impact...
I don't think so. I am so happy in particular for Calum, he totally deserves it. It was a great moment as it helped us win the game, and it's someone who deserves the best for who he is as a person and how he behaves as a professional.

on Ben White's fitness...
No, there is a bug going on, we lost Pablo today as he wasn't feeling great and Ben had it as well in the last day or two. He wasn't feeling great, so we decided to take him off.

on whether it was a gamble to make so many changes...
It was a decision that... I can't keep demanding players to do what they do every day, and to keep believing that they can get in the team and ask them to raise the level [without giving them a chance to play] and I trust them. I was calm as I know that they can do it. Obviously it was against a tough opponent.

on Eddie Nketiah's performance and his future...
I have no doubts about what he can offer. Whatever you throw at him, he wants more, and demands more of himself, and he's another one that I am delighted to see the performance and for him to score the goal and help the team, because he totally deserves it. But there's a lot of players who play in that position, and with a personal situation [with his contract running down], but I try to leave that aside and try to [reward him] because he deserves it.

on whether there is an update on Nketiah's contract...

on Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard's fitness...
They were both out with two different injuries. They tried yesterday but they didn't feel great, they wanted to be involved but they didn't feel good enough to be selected today and hopefully in the next few days they can feel better and be available for Leicester.

on Ainsley Maitland-Niles' performance...
Well, we have used him a lot and in different moments he has played minutes. He can cover different positions, that's the bonus that Ainsley has and again he kept trying and trying to improve every single day. Today I felt he had a really good performance.

on Nketiah's future...
Yes, but we had a situation in the summer that we tried to resolve and we couldn't either way. The contract situation is more and more common in football, from where we are coming from with Covid and a lot of issues we have to resolve. I have full belief that he is going to be a top player and hopefully at Arsenal.

on whether Mikel would let him go...
I am happy to have him in the team. He is our player and I consider him and regard him really highly, and from my side I want him to stay.

on keeping Ben White and ESR in the team...
The thinking was that it was more a reactive situation! Martin was going to start the game and he was injured, so we had to pick someone to play in midfield. The other one was Pablo, he was going to start as well but he couldn't because he had a bug this morning and wasn't feeling good so we had to play Ben.

on Balogun, and his future in the team…
We will see what happens. Again, with Flo we have a really clear project. The steps that he’s making, they are the right steps. Don’t forget he is really young, he hasn’t played almost any professional football, and you need to go through every phase - and don’t try to jump phases when you are not ready to do so. Again I’m really happy with him, he’s making the right progress and in December we will see where we are and what’s the best for him as well.
on Salah-Eddine being on the bench tonight, and the thinking behind that decision…
Rewarding him - for what he does every day in training and the games that he’s playing, for his attitude and the quality he has - he totally deserves to be with us.
on getting to the quarter final, and whether it opens up opportunities for minutes for these players...
Yeah well it obviously opens up more space for opportunity for people... winning this trophy is something we want to accomplish. It’s great to see the players that didn’t have a lot of opportunities. The way they played today, the way they competed, and the way they won the game against a really good side.
on his celebrations for Calum Chambers when he scored…
I think there is something else there. You see the reaction of his team-mates, they spend time with him every single day. I think it was genuine emotion for him because it’s been tough for him - and they like him as a person, and they know it was an important moment for him.
on Calum running to celebrate with the set-piece coach…
There were I think three different coaches and a player that told him he was going to score, and probably it was in his ear so it was a way to say thank you!    

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