Arteta on the derby, Tottenham and mentality


It's a big week for us and, after winning in Athens on Thursday night, we now turn our attention to the small matter of the north London derby.

Ahead of Sunday's game against Tottenham, Mikel Arteta faced the media and discussed our opponents, the importance of leadership and more.

This is what he said:

on the result in Greece…

I said I was really happy with the result and the performance, apart from the goal that we gave them so I was really happy with the performance, the personality we showed away from home against this type of team and the way that we dominated the game.

on previous games against Tottenham…

The last game, we started really well, we were dominant and the first time they went over the halfway line they scored. That’s the quality, they are a well-organised team, a big threat in every counter-attack situation, great individuals skills and great organisation. You can see the team fights and believes absolutely in what the manager’s ideas are, so it will be a really tough game. 

on his memories of playing in this fixture…

I played in some magnificent ones because we won some beautiful games against them. The most important one was probably at the Emirates when we made a huge comeback after going down. I remember the atmosphere that day was rocking, and just feeling that the fans were so happy was emotional.

on the challenge to keep their strikeforce quiet…

Very difficult because the level of quality, precision, understanding and chemistry they have between them makes them probably one of the most teams in Europe. They don't need much. They are able to create their own chances, they are able to link as a team. So it's really difficult to do that, but we'll prepare the game well to try to stop them, obviously.


on needing to improve defensively…

Well yes because the amount of chances we are conceding has been really low, but the amount of chances we have given to opponents has had a big impact in the goals that we have conceded. It depends on us a bit which is a really positive thing. But we know that it's something we need to eradicate to be more consistent with results.


on the difficulty in being consistent in a season so tightly packed with fixtures…

Really complicated with the amount of goals we are playing, the circumstances, the context, how difficult it's been for everybody this season in general. What we've found since Christmas is a level of consistency in our performances. The better the performances, the results are going to be a result of that in the majority of the game. But only if you don't commit big errors in the games.


on the importance of having a winning mentality that goes through the squad…

Absolutely. The level of leadership, the passion that you play with and the belief that you have amongst the squad, to fight for every single ball for 96 minutes... Then it's about learning how to win. Every game is different and you have to find the way to win it. There are certain things that are some basics you have to do every game. Sometimes there are some things you have to control because of the opponent, because of the circumstances, because of the time that is left. That's a process we are in and we have to improve very much to be able to fight with the top teams.

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