Press conference

Arteta on David Luiz, Ozil, Brighton: transcript

The new normal continued on Thursday evening, as Mikel Arteta took part in his second pre-match press conference over Zoom.

David Luiz's future, Mesut Ozil's situation and Saturday's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion were just a few of the topics up for discussion. 

Scroll down for a full transcript:

on deleting the City match and moving on...
Yes absolutely. Emotionally it's very, very difficult to delete it but it's what we have to do. It was a very accidental game right from the start, when we lost Granit straight away, losing Pablo and then the way we conceded the first and second goals. Against this type of opposition, this makes life almost impossible. There are things to learn obviously that we cannot not consider to keep evolving in what we are trying to do. But as well we have to be open and analyse the game as it went. 

on whether having Brighton so soon after works in our favour...
Yes, every time you lose a football game you want a revenge straight away. That's what we want, myself, the staff and the players. We need to see how many players we have fit for the game because it was a big hit losing three players in key areas which, at the moment, we are very short in. But we have to adapt. We're going to have a lot of games, we're going to be playing every three days with the schedule the Premier League has given us today so it's going to be a challenge. 

on whether David Luiz has played his final game for Arsenal...
I don't know. I told you when I was talking to you guys last night that he's very open. He's a man, he's a leader and I was sure that he was going to speak in front of everybody. You heard what he said, he was very direct with us too. That's what I value from him, that's what I like from him, but we need to be fair on him. Me personally, I'm going to defend him with everything I have because I believe in him, he's shown me a lot of things in his time here and his career speaks for itself. 

on whether David Luiz's departure would be more for business reasons than personal...
Well we cannot forget the financial situation, the way that COVID-19 has hit every club and the economy in general - it's going to have an impact. What the club is doing at the moment is assessing the situation and trying to clarify a lot of uncertainties that we have in the future. We have to make big decisions but time-wise it's difficult to fit them in our needs. We are trying our best, the club is trying its best, and it's difficult sometimes because it puts the player or our sporting necessities in a difficult situation. We have to adapt. That's what it is and that's why I wanted to protect David yesterday. That's why I didn't start him. But it's a funny game and after 20 minutes, you need him and he's a player who has had a lot of uncertainty in the last few weeks.

on Kia Joorabchian's suggestion that there's a lot of uncertainty behind the scenes...
I think for all businesses in general, a lot of clubs are going to be in a lot of positions. Don't forget that we have accepted a pay cut, not only the players but the staff on board, to try to help the situation. I think it was an incredible gesture of unity and commitment from everybody working at the football club, that I'm very proud of. There are consequences and the people who are running the club are very responsible. What they don't want to do is put the club in a difficult position. In order to do that, let's first analyse what our finances are going to look like. We know that we have to improve, so let's look at how we can improve it, and let's see what we can do to get the club to the position it deserves.

on the tactical reasons which saw Mesut Ozil left out...
I have been very open with Mesut from day one. Since I joined I thought that he was fit and he was willing and he wanted to perform at the level he can do. He has played every game with me I think. So that it is. The moment I see that he is ready again to do that, I will treat him like anybody else. I think I have been more than fair with him and I think he has responded in many games the way I want. That’s it.

on why Ozil wasn't ready...
There's a lot that's happened to him in the last few weeks and I have to respect the time for every player. Sometimes they need a little bit of time. It's been difficult preparation the last two months to get players ready and again, I'm the first one who wants Mesut at the best. I'm going to put him on the pitch when I think he can give his best.

on how Ozil reacts when he doesn't play...
He was very well with me. There were no issues at all.

on whether Ozil questions why he's not playing...
My conversations with Mesut will remain between me and him. What I can tell you is that it was a completely fine, honest and clear conversation. That's it.

on whether this job is harder than he first thought...
I cannot deny that there have been some big challenges along the way but as well I feel so privileged. It's an honour to be in the position that I am. Every decision that I'm going to make is to defend the club in the best possible way, and then get the players on board, get their trust, get them behind me to believe in what I'm trying to do. They seem very convinced. We have a lot of rocks at the moment in our way. Last night we had a few more but I am more convinced than ever. We had something against us and that is time. In football, time is difficult to buy and patience is a little bit difficult to do. But I am convinced because I've seen it with my eyes on a daily basis, a process that takes time and time and time. At the moment, they look like they're going to be flying but we need a little bit of time because a lot of things have happened, more than we expected, in this process. I've been here five months. Time in football is difficult to buy.

on the fight for finishing in the top four...
I said before that we started after the virus from a position that we have a lot of teams in front of us. We have to go game by game. Last night is over and we have to learn from what happened. We have to analyse the game as it happened as well, and be fair on our analysis. You can see the difference at the moment, in the process, in terms of the squad. That takes a little bit of time to get there, which I think in the first 30 or 35 minutes, we competed really well. We were a threat and we made it very difficult for them but at this level, when you give something to that kind of opposition they're not going to make any mistakes. It was clear yesterday that it was happening. From now on, game by game, it's still the same ambition and that's to win the next game. That's it. A lot of things are happening between them. Let's see what happens.

on Brighton and Graham Potter...
I think he's changed completely the way Brighton plays. He sounds very convincing and I think the players are buying into what he's doing as well. They are a threat, they showed at the Emirates that if you're not at it on the day, they're going to create a lot of issues. We better be ready because it's going to be a really tough game for us.

on Eddie Nketiah...
I want him to keep doing what he's doing. The way he played last night against those players, in those difficult conditions, for me is extraordinary at his age. He has an immense personality to play, confidence, he's powerful and is developing in every area I think. I have a lot of faith in him.

on whether this situation will help the younger players...
Yes. The trick here is to get them with the right environment around them. Not to put too much pressure on them. We have a really young squad, a very inexperienced squad, and when you put that in certain parts of the pitch very close together, you can see that there are some deficits and the decision-making is not always the right thing to do. We are in a position that we have to accept that some things at the moment, in there, probably more than we would like, are going to be like that. That's the circumstances that we have but at the same time it's great because it's a great value for them to have these experiences and see themselves playing against that type of opposition.

on the financial situation affecting transfers and big contracts...
I think there is a lot of uncertainty in how the transfer market is going to look. You hear very different things and people are going to go all in, clubs are already spending a lot of money and others may be much more conservative and wait to assess the situation before they move. Our position at the moment is that we have to see and be cautious. Our ambition is still intact and I know from the owners that their ambition is still intact as well. We will try and do our best to improve the squad, maintain the players we want to maintain and move forward.

on whether we can still hold onto talent...
I don't know. Today I cannot answer that unfortunately because there is too much uncertainty.

on whether we have the advantage over Brighton because we've played BCD...
I think to talk about advantages now is not very important. We are all adapting. The experience from last night is very strange. From the moment you travel, how you get to the stadium, the feelings you have during the warm-up, during the game, it's completely different. We are all adapting. We experienced yesterday and we can talk about things that are needed to raise the level of motivation as well, and sustain that but I don't think it's going to be a big issue.

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