Press conference

Arteta on... City, Project Big Picture, Nketiah

With the international break over, Mikel Arteta was back in front of the media on Thursday.

Our manager discussed Saturday's game against Manchester City, Thomas Partey, William Saliba, Eddie Nketiah and more.
 
This is what he said:
 
on integrating Thomas Partey into the matchday squad…
Well he was here just yesterday, he is getting familiar with everything around the club. Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come really quickly for him. We knew that before we signed him that he is fit, he is very willing to start playing and we will see how he goes in the next few days.
 
on how long it takes players to adapt to the Premier League…
I think it is something very individual, depending on many factors. How they settle first of all here in the city with their family, whether they speak the language or not, whether their qualities fit the team and the Premier League more straight away or if they need some adaptation and some development in those areas. It is very particular, you see some players adapt really quickly and some others taking a long time.
 
on how excited he is to have a player like Partey...
I have seen the buzz around the place, the fans are really happy, I have seen some really positive reactions after we bought him, the same with the team, the squad and the staff. I think he is a player we had the radar on for a long time and we have managed to bring him in and I think he will be a really important addition to the team.
 
on how confidence the squad has...
I am confident in what we are doing, it is very early to say where we will be at the end of the season, a lot of things have to happen, a lot of improvement has to be made by us as a team. We know what we have to do, we know the level of competition we are facing in this league. We are happy with the recruitment we have done in the transfer window and now we need to get better and better every week.
 
on how Partey is settling into the squad...
Very good. He hasn't trained with us yet, he will have the first training session today but he got to know some of his team-mates. Not all of them, because some are still on international duty but we will have everyone back today and it will be a good day for him to get to know everyone.
 
on the positives of beating Sheffield United ahead of facing Man City...
I think it will be a completely different game. City's approach when they play us will be very different to [Sheffield United's], very different demands for what we have to do with and without the ball as well. I am really happy with the way we managed to win the game and how patient we were, and the improvements compared with last year against this type of opposition but again, we know the level of difficulty at Manchester City will be another level.
 
of City's start to the season...
They are still producing incredible numbers in everything that they are doing. In my opinion, they have been really unlucky with some of the results they got because they should have put games to bed very early in those games, and then the level of efficiency of the opponents when they had half chances have published them a lot. But I haven't seen any decrease in the level of the way they are playing or in what they are producing game by game. I haven't seen any of that.
 
on knowing Guardiola tactically better than anyone else...
I don't know about better, I know him very well because we worked together for four years very closely. We both know how we think and the solutions that can be made, but after it is to try to prevent them or execute the football on the pitch when everything is going 100 mph which is very difficult and much more difficult than on tactics boards.
 
on Project Big Picture...
Well I think it was a very clear statement from the Premier League about what is going to happen. We all have to review the actual context and how we can help each other to make football more sustainable. But I think it has to be agreed by everybody and yesterday's statement was very clear regarding that.

on whether Project Big Picture could've damaged our relationship with other clubs...
Well I don't think so. I think it's very special the way that the Premier League has conducted itself over the years [inaudible]. I think that's a massive strength so as much as we can, we can maintain that unity and sustain our way of doing things. I think that's very valuable and the image that we project to the outside world is really, really strong. I hope that we can maintain that.

on the one club, one vote principle...
I don't know [how important it is]. If you ask all the clubs individually, they probably have different opinions. We have to find a way that works for everybody, that can make this game sustainable and allows us to still evolve in the context we're in at the moment, which is important as well. It's completely different to what it was 20 years ago, so we have to move, we have to share a vision in order to achieve that because at the end of the day, it's for the benefit of every club.

on it needing some kind of reform...
I think we have to protect the lower leagues as well, this is our obligation. We want to produce grassroots and opportunities for everybody in this industry. I think it's fair to assess the situation and find the best possible way to achieve that. This is our responsibility as well.

on Kieran Tierney...
This is getting very complicated when we are sending players abroad and obviously you lose control, some authorities have different regulations to the actual ones in the Premier League. We are still having some discussions with the authorities and hopefully we will know more this afternoon.

on whether Tierney tested positive in the summer...
I cannot discuss individual medical things here.

on whether Tierney could play this weekend...
I hope so.

on whether Mesut Ozil will be in our Premier League squad (confirmed on October 20)...
He wasn't the only one who was not in the [Europa League] squad. It is a really difficult decision for me to make because to leave players out of the squad at that level, where they know they cannot get involved, is really tough. I don't like it at all, but the decision had to be made because we have an excess of foreign players. Unfortunately we had to make that decision.
 
on Arsene Wenger saying Mesut Ozil should be more involved...
I think you have to try and find a way to feed every player with their own qualities and this is our job. And obviously our responsibility with all the players we have to manage.

on if the international break causes frustrations for managers because of injuries...
Yes, but at the end of the day we know that we have a responsibility to our players as well. We have to give the opportunity to our players to play international football. International football needs our players, it will not work [without them]. I think we can make things a little bit better for the future and hopefully this international break helps in order to minimise some of the errors that probably have been made. The reality though is that there are always some risks. They are here to take it, to clarify certain rules, certain protocols, try to unify them to give ourselves the best possible chance to protect our players and protect the clubs as well.

on if there was ever any doubt over signing Thomas Partey...
Yes. At the last minute, it's always a risk. A lot of things have to happen at the same time and obviously, there's a lot of paperwork to do. It was a challenge to do it in 24 hours but I'm really happy because we managed it.

on if Atletico Madrid are annoyed at how the signing played out...
I don't know. Obviously, when you have a release clause in your contact, you assume that that situation could arise at any moment. When the market is open it's completely legal to do it. We have had some communication with them prior to that as well so hopefully they can respect that action.

on the possibility of seeing Kevin De Bruyne v Thomas Partey on Saturday...
Let's see. He needs to do a training session today first. We'll see how he goes in the next 48 hours and then we'll make a decision as to whether he plays or not.

on Pep Guardiola not signing a new contract yet...
I don't know, it's up to him. I think the last time I heard an interview with him he was still really happy. He was talking about the future, some of the signings they've done recently as well, they are really young players... I don't know. I just want to see him happy.

on playing Manchester City (again)...
It's Manchester City and Liverpool I think [that we seem to play a lot]. It's getting really tough, the fixtures that we have coming up in the next few weeks as well will be really difficult. We know the opponent we are facing. We all know the level that we have to be at individually and collectively to beat them. We haven't had much time to prepare the game because today is our first training session all together but we will try to go to Manchester to win the game.

on if he said we're not at the level to beat Manchester City...
No. I said we have to be at a really top level individually and collectively to beat them.

on the two sides being close in the league...
Well, our ambition is to go there and to try and beat them again. We know the challenge, we know how hard it is. Every detail, every individual performance has to be top and we have to control a lot of aspects of the game. They might be very different to the ones we have to control against  Sheffield United but we have to be able to adapt as a team when we face this type of opposition.
 
on whether international football needs to be halted temporarily...
No. I think international football has to continue going because there are some competitions that have to happen. They were already delayed last summer and they have to take place because as well, those organisations have to be sustainable. We all understand that. What are we asking is to try and unify those protocols and rules to try to create a safe environment for our players but as well to protect the clubs because obviously, the impact of having a few players out when we resume the Premier League is really difficult.

on Eddie Nketiah and whether he's close to being a starter...
Well, he's very close because he's already challenging everybody every week, whether he's starting or not. I always have no doubts with him because of the way he trains and performs, his goalscoring record is getting better and better every week. He's evolving the right way and this is what we need, players challenging and knocking on the door to become starters for us.

on games being pay-per-view and his opinion on unhappiness from fans...
Yes, I completely understand [the fans' dissatisfaction] and we are having more discussions with the Premier League and the broadcasters in order to achieve a good solution for all parties. As you said, it's an unprecedented situation, so I think we are learning from it, trying to adapt from it and make the right decisions. But yeah, football is based on our fans and the viewers that we have and we have to respect them and have them - as much as possible - on board with us because we really need them and we can see how different this sport is without them.

on whether he expects any players to leave on loan...
Not at the moment.

on whether William Saliba will be staying at Arsenal...
Yes.

on his reaction to Arsene Wenger saying he'd like to come back to cheer on the team when fans are allowed back in...
I would like to see him back around us. He was a massive figure for me and he's someone that I can still learn a lot of things from and I would like to have him closer to us. Obviously the actual environment doesn't allow us to do it, but I think he's a figure that has to be very present in what we do at the football club because he is, in my opinion, the one who had the vision and helped this club to evolve and be what it is today.

on whether he got a better contract when he became manager rather than head coach...
No. It's the way we're moving our structure right now because we believed it was going to be more efficient. We made a lot of changes and we are still adapting. Things will evolve in the future even more regarding the needs that we have but we have a very clear idea of how we wanted to run the club and the right people that we need in every department to try to achieve what we are trying to do. We believe that was the right structure for us to work and move forward.

on whether there's any plans for him to sign a contract extension...
I don't know! We just finished the transfer window at the moment, but I can say that I'm really happy at the club and that I feel valued, I feel respected and very supported at the moment. My concerns are with all the work we have to do here, with the improvement we need around the team and trying to sustain the level of performances and get better.

on whether he'd want a new contract...
Yes, but I have to earn that. Now in football you have to earn it every week and things change really quickly, so we have to be on our toes. Obviously, it's my responsibility to plan medium and long-term as well, but that's with or without me. At the end, the time that I'm going to be at this football club will be related to how much I can move the club forward, improve the team and be a success on the pitch and get the values and the vision that I want to implement into this club as well off the pitch.

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