Quotes

Arteta on... Chelsea, Martinelli, Aubameyang

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta knows we are in a tough spot at the moment, but hopes that a landmark win against Chelsea on Boxing Day could prove a key turning point.

Facing the press ahead of the clash at Emirates Stadium, our manager discussed the fight the team is showing, Gabriel Martinelli, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and more.

This is what he said:

on whether Gabriel Martinelli will be able to play on Boxing Day...
Responding to Gabi and Auba, we don't know. We'll have to see how they evolve in the next 48 hours. I am sure that they will both be very keen to come and help the team but we will see whether they are available to do that or not.
 
on how much the Man City defeat will impact confidence...
We have to draw a line. A lot of things happened [against Manchester City]. Again, we have to focus on the Premier League and we knew that even before today's game, because it's a priority in the situation we're in. We have a crucial week this week. We have to stand up and we have to pick up the points. Let's draw a line and move forward.
 
on whether he saw enough fight against Man City...
I did see it because when you concede the first goal the way we did, against this opposition and in the situation we're in, and the team react like they did, it's not usual. Not only once, but they did it twice. To play the way we played in certain moments as well. You sense as well that there is some confidence there that is lacking in certain moments, but for sure the fight in my opinion is not an issue.
 
on whether he can learn from how Chelsea responded to a tough spell...

Yes but we are trying to respond every week, and for different reasons we are not picking up results. It happened last week against Burnley, a game we should be winning, it happened against Southampton, it happened against Everton... we have to turn things around. Whether it's bad luck or these things that are affecting our results, they have to change dramatically. Those margins make it very difficult to win football matches in the Premier League. We have the opportunity on a very special day here at home against Chelsea, so let's do it.
 
on where the team's confidence is at the moment...
The best medicine when you are in this situation is to win a football match. Every defeat is another hurting moment, another moment of disappointment, another moment you have to lift yourself up and that's what we've got to do. I think the medicine for all of us would be to come here against Chelsea, beat them and then move from there. It's exactly what we all need.
 
on the next three games being crucial...
Yes absolutely. The next seven to eight days are going to be crucial to see where we're going to be heading to in the Premier League.
 
on whether he's running out of reasons why we're not winning...
I don't make any excuses. I think I've been very clear in many moments that we are losing football matches. That is my responsibility to put that right and regardless of what happens, it's been us. It's been us that have let ourselves down and it's down to us to change that. I don't think I have ever used an excuse.
 
on him taking responsibility to shield the players...
I have to. I will keep doing it when I see that they are really trying, and they are trying to do the best thing. Mistakes, errors, whatever happens, I will support them until the last day. This is the way I believe I have to do it. Of course they have to play on the pitch and put in the performances. We are here to help them as much as possible, and we have to accept that at the moment it's nowhere near enough.
 
on how different Chelsea will be compared to the FA Cup final...

Obviously Chelsea always have a great squad of great players. The team that we faced a few months ago was a top one. In this moment, you're probably talking about the strongest squad in the Premier League. They're doing a really good job, Frank is doing a really good job. He's got a team full of belief and confidence, and even though they had some defeats, they got back to winning yesterday and it's a team that is going to be fighting for the top spot in the league for sure.
 
on whether we can compete with Chelsea's spending…

I wouldn't like to compare. What they did seems to be working fine and at the moment we are not there.
 
on how COVID-19 has impacted on team spirit…
At the moment to keep the team together, the team alive, and to be a team rather than a group of players, at the moment it takes a lot of energy. When you are losing football matches you have to lift them up and you have to get them together. You have to get them to be positive to each other, to try to not start blaming any external factors or any individuals when things are not going well. The best thing to do when you are like that is to have the possibility to do things outside our site. Get them together, change the environment, but at the moment we can't do that. We are not going to be able to do that for a while, so we have to find other ways. But I have to say that the players are really putting in a lot of energy and enthusiasm not to lose what we are building. But it takes a lot of energy because when you are losing games, every game is a lot of weight on your shoulders. People are suffering, we are hurting and you have to get back, be the leader again, and try to push the players. The players respond and are excited again for the game. That's happening, but the best medicine is to win against Chelsea.

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