Press conference

Arteta on the derby, Mourinho, VAR: transcript

Mikel Arteta was back in the company of the media on Friday morning as he held his pre-north London derby press conference.

Our head coach was quizzed on a range of topics, covering everything from Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho to the VAR decision system.
 
Read on for a full transcript:
 
on how we have used the extra days this week...
We had a training session straight after the game and then a day off. We hadn't had a day off or a long time now and now we have two days to prepare the game. Hopefully the players are ready and focussed, facing a big, big game.

on what he will tell his younger players about the occasion...
They know, and they know how the media reacts, what the fans are expecting. It's going to be a shame because it's such a beautiful stadium as well the one they have built. Not to have the fans there is not going to be the shame so it's going to be a strange derby.

on how this derby compares to others...
They are all different, it depends a lot whether you win or lose, that's what makes it special. Obviously we have had some really nice ones playing them at the Emirates and beating them so I have some really good memories on that. It's such a special occasion. Rivalry in football, when you take it in a positive way, and that brings energy, that brings passion, that brings a city together. It's such a beautiful thing. We are privileged to have big teams in the city and it's a shame we don't have the fans to enjoy it with us.
 
on Michael Oliver being appointed the referee...
I never have any concern about the decision of the referee. Nowadays, everything's so professional, dedicated and they're under so much pressure and criticism. I know they try their best with the decisions that they have to make. They're getting more and more complicated because of the speed of the game and how quickly they have to react, and the pressure they have with the new VAR system as well. We're here to support them, we need them, they're a big part of that. Now we complain that we don't have the fans and we realise how important they are, maybe one day we won't have referees and we're going to say, 'Wow, they were crucial for this game to work'. So we have to support them.
 
on whether there's ever a good time to face a Jose Mourinho side...
I think a derby has a completely different context to what is happening with the current form and anything like that. I have huge respect for Jose, for what he's trying to do there, and we know to go there and get a win we're going to have to do everything really, really well. I'm expecting a really tough game.
 
on this being a must-win game to finish fifth...
We said since the virus that we had to win every single game. Unfortunately we haven't been able to do that but we're in a good run and we'll try to go there to get the three points again.
 
on his team news ahead of the game...
I'm going to see the boys soon, but hopefully everybody is fine.
 
on what he made of Harry Kane and Bruno Fernandes' VAR decisions...
Some days I've made more comments than I've wanted to straight after a game, so I'm not prepared to comment on any decisions.
 
on what can be done about 'incorrect' VAR decisions...
Well as I said before, some of them are very complicated. We don't know how they are judging the situation but I'm sure they have the right intentions. At the end of the season, I think that is something that has to go into debate. We need to agree on some principles that we're going to apply, so at least every decision has the same raised level of determination, basically.
 
on what he's made of Mourinho's Tottenham this season...
They have had some ups and downs but overall you can clearly see what he wants to bring to the club. He manages the energy, the momentum and establishes a really strong culture in every football club. As well, he makes sure that he wins and he's won in every single club that he's been at. Obviously the situation and the timing when he arrived is different than starting a new project right from the summer, but I'm sure he will be successful because he always finds the right way to do it. It will take him a bit of time but I'm sure he will do it.
 
on whether Jose Mourinho is still a world-class manager…
Absolutely.

on how he plans to beat Tottenham tactically on Sunday…
Unfortunately I cannot tell you that!

on what he thinks Jose Mourinho is trying to do at Tottenham…
Well, he has a very clear way of playing and a very clear way of how he manages games. I think clean sheets are a big thing that he want to do, but don’t forget his teams always score a lot of goals and they are really successful and he’s been able to win titles because of that. I think in a long period they’ve had a lot of injuries so he hasn’t had the chance to be consistent with his team and that’s a big disadvantage that they have. I know that he’s done it and I know people that have worked with him and he always find a way to be successful and I’m sure he’ll do it again.

on whether Sunday will be a high scoring game…
You never know in a derby because when the passion and the emotions kick in, a lot of things can happen and from a very controlled game it can go to a completely different game and that’s somewhere we need to know how to manage. I’ve been involved in a few of them so there’s always some surprises.

on whether Mesut Ozil or Matteo Guendouzi could be involved…
No, no updates sorry.
 
on mind games from other managers...
To be fair I don't see it a lot, but I think the success that Jose has had is not from the press conference, it's the way that his teams perform on the pitch and the amount of football games that he has been able to win. [The press conference] is an extra that obviously you need to know how to deal with but the main thing is what you do on the pitch.

on if he has spoken to Pep Guardiola ahead of this weekend...
No.

on Kane...
He was quite successful against us as well and at that time he was already established as one of the best strikers in the league, his numbers were really really good. I'm not surprised at the level he has maintained over the years and how consistent he has been, which is the most difficult thing in football.

on being surprised at Kane and Tottenham not winning a trophy...
Yes, but they have been really close and they have come so far as a club and as a team and they have been competing with top teams in Champions League finals, which is a huge thing to do.

on it being a good move to appoint Mourinho...
Absolutely, that's probably one of the reasons that they have brought Jose in, because of his experience in dealing with those situations and having that extra edge to become a winning team.

 

 

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