Press conference

Arteta on the comeback, character and mistakes


Mikel Arteta had mixed emotions after our 3-3 draw with West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday.

Our manager was proud of the comeback, but hugely frustrated that we had put ourselves into a situation where we were 3-0 down in the first place.

Read on for a full transcript of his post-match press conference:

on summing up a crazy game…
I think you defined it. The first half an hour was really disappointing, we weren’t at the races. We conceded a goal that they have the quality and the ability to do that perfectly, but we didn’t win enough challenges, enough duels, we were too stretched as a team, not enough urgency, and we showed that with the other two goals that we conceded that were completely unacceptable. So we showed a face that we still have and then after that for the next 60 minutes we probably played the best that I have seen us play against very tough conditions when any team could collapse and start to blame each other and have bad body language and concede four, five or six. We did completely the opposite, we reunited, we did exactly what we had to do and we got better and better. Its a shame because looking at the chances, we should have scored six or seven.

on whether it feels like he has two teams, a good and a bad Arsenal…
This is my responsibility because before we could not play at that level, now we can. So we cannot go from here to there, we have to be all the time here. That is where we are heading and we have to stop giving the opponents anything, because the last shot that they had - when they hit the post - is from a throw in where we give them the ball and they are through, it’s too simple. For the rest I am incredibly proud of the team, the way we played, the courage that we showed, how much belief we had that we could go on and win the game - and I sensed that at half time, which is not easy and it shows me as well how far we have come together.

on Martin Odegaard’s performance…
I think he had an incredible performance, he was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he effected the game and again he showed how much he wants to win. When everyone was a little bit trembling, he gave us that composure on the ball and he created chance after chance.

on the reasons for why we keep giving things to the opposition…
That is what keeps me awake! It has happened too many times, too often and at that level you cannot do that because the opponents are so good and the margins are not that big. The other positive one is the level we played here afterwards.

on what the next step is…
The next step is that they go on international, and I will analyse the game and start to focus on Liverpool and the Europa League, to start to prepare for those games so that when everyone is back, we are ready to go. We still have some players here, we still have to train them in the best possible way and then we go to the next match.

on whether Odegaard has already becomes a leader in this team...
He's been showing that, I think, from week one. When he steps onto that pitch, he always wants the ball. He commands the pressing and he's been really influential. I think we are all happily surprised because he looks shy and humble but when he steps on that pitch, he is a real character. He loves to play football.

on whether Auba will go on international duty...
We believe that he's going to be okay to go. We still have a few other issues with some players that are feeling some issues, so I don't know. Unless some rules change or some countries are going to the red zone, I don't know how the situation is going to be.

on whether he'd rather Auba stayed in London to focus on his club form...
Well, you never know. Sometimes if they play a game and he scores and he is out of the environment and then comes back, sometimes it's good to have him here because then we can train specifically on things that will be important. But it's not in our hands. If he is allowed to go, he will go. If not, he will stay.

on always having to pick Auba because you never know when he may score...
It's not about that. It's about what he does when he plays on the team, it's about performance and training, not who you are.

on if the inconsistency is due to the culture that's surrounded the team and whether that's his biggest challenge...
Probably. Now I'm not worried about the culture because we've come so far on that and I've seen so many positive things to be consequent with what I'm saying. Today was one of those, again, because I've seen that before with completely different reactions with each other as a team and with the energy, the belief and the togetherness today, I am not worried about that. I am worried with the levels that we can show within a game and I think that's where we are still far from the top teams.

on if he thinks that's a physical thing...
I don't like excuses, honestly. If somebody is not fit to play Thursday to Sunday, he needs to say before the game 'I am not fit' because on minute one to ten, I've been there and you cannot put the blame on that. After 60, 70 or 80, okay I understand because we are human beings. If that had happened at the end, we would've been more close to being excused because of that, but at the start of the game? No.

on Odegaard and whether he was the sort of player we missed in the first half the season...
I love talented and creative players that all the time are willing to take that ball and make things happen, that are mobile and also hard-working. He is one of them. We have some others with different qualities but it's true that Martin is now giving us a different level on certain things that we didn't have.

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