Press conference

Arteta on... the draw, Auba, Smith Rowe and more

Mikel Arteta admitted that a draw was a fair result from our stalemate with Manchester United on Saturday.

Afterwards our manager faced the media, and this is what he said:
on if that was a pointed gained or two points dropped…
I thought it was a fair result. I think both managers probably think they should have won it. I think it was a big game. I think we played face-to-face against each other. I think both teams wanted to win it. None of us scored a goal so it’s impossible to win. The fact we had three of our best players out probably has an impact [on the game] but I’m really happy with the players that played today and how we tried and most importantly how the game developed at the end. In the second half we were so dominant and had some big chances to win it.

on why Aubameyang is in quarantine…
We are following the rules and the protocols right now and the protocols say that he cannot be involved at the moment. We have to respect that and the doctor is managing the situation.

on if that’s because he been in a particular country or if he’s been exposed to coronavirus…
It’s because he had a family issue that he had to attend to and these are the consequences of that.

on where the team improved in the second half…
Well, we made some changes with a few things that we had to fix to be much more efficient, to be much closer to them, to be more effective in our high press and the areas where we could regain the ball and then we had a better structure to attack. We were more of a threat and we stopped giving the ball back to the opponent when we won it and we had much space to run, which is something that against United can really punish you and in the first half we didn’t do that well enough.

on Emile Smith Rowe…
Yes. He played a really good game. Even in the first half when he got involved I think he made a real difference. I think he increases the pace and the rhythm of the team when he’s around the ball and defensively he’s working so hard as well. I think overall again he had a really strong performance.
on whether Mustafi, Nelson and Maitland-Niles could leave the club…
Well, there are some conversations at the moment going on. I spoke with all the players about their own situation because they are all aware of the minutes that they’re playing and they want to improve their situation. I’m willing to help them, the club is willing to help them and we will try to find a solution at the end, but I don’t know whether it will be the case or not.

on where our team spirit and momentum can take us…
I don’t know, but we’re going to give it a real go. I think the team is in a really good moment and I think we are moving in the right direction. All the players are so willing to contribute to the team and contribute to the plan that we have in place, and they seem excited, so when that’s the case I have to push them inch by inch and make them believe that we can finish the season in a really strong way.

on David Luiz celebrating a clearance…
Yes, because you have to put your body on the line and when you have to defend your own box, you have to be ruthless and you have to be even more aggressive when you attack the opponents box because it makes a huge impact on the result, and I think everybody is defending in those situations with their lives, which is what I asked them to do. When that’s the case, obviously you’re harder to beat and you get the amount of clean sheets we’re getting at the moment.

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